Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tom Coburn Continues To Oppose Funding For Wounded Veterans And Their Families

Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 10:22:03 AM PST

On a day set aside to honor all military veterans, let's take a moment to remember Tom Coburn (R-OK) -- no, not for his military service, because hereally lucked out on the draft lottery in 1969 -- but for his one-man roadblockagainst:

... assistance to caregivers of veterans, to improve the provision of health care to veterans, and for other purposes.

... otherwise known as the Caregiver and Veterans Services Act of 2009, that can't get to the Senate floor because of the hold placed on the bill by Coburn.

Because while Coburn may wave a flag and have a properly pinned lapel when it suits him, he's not interested in the pleas from:

The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, AmVets, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Blinded Veterans Association, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Vietnam Veterans of America, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and Jewish War Veterans, plus the Military Officers Association of America, National Military Family Association and Wounded Warrior Project.

... to get this bill passed, even though:

Thousands of disabled veterans with serious medical conditions and the family members who care for them are counting on this additional support. [...]

Steve Robertson, legislative director for The American Legion, said delaying the bill hurts families caring for severely wounded combat veterans who would benefit from the stipends, health care, counseling and respite care that would be provided to caregivers in the bill.

“For a lot of family caregivers, delay is costing them their jobs and their savings. It’s having a big impact,” he said.

So, what is Coburn's objection to the bill? He hates "the idea of creating new benefits without paying for them" and wants the funding to come out of the economic stimulus money.

Yesterday, Harry Reid (D-NV) called Coburn's stance "illogical" given that he never raised any objections "when we were spending a trillion dollars on the war in Iraq."

Which is a good point. One that Reid should make while making a motion to proceed to consideration of the bill, forcing Coburn to publicly filibuster against benefits for veterans, rather than continuing to allow him to hide like a coward behind his anonymous hold.

Update: From a press release:

Over 13,000 petition signatures, raised in a matter of less than a week, were delivered to Senator Tom Coburn, calling on him to end his hold on a veterans spending bill. The petition, sponsored by and retired General Wesley Clark's “Securing America,” calls on Coburn to end his hold on S. 1963, "The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2009."

We the undersigned call on you to stop this disgraceful move of holding up some very important veteran legislation, S. 1963, "The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2009." While this is a legal move, we think it is morally wrong for you to hold up any veterans benefits during a time when our men and women in uniform are giving so much to our country.

You are denying veterans a myriad of benefits and services ...

Now is not the time to play petty political games with our veterans. What you are doing is shameful, and those of us who are veterans and support veterans will not stand for it.

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