Thursday, April 17, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Senate blocks Dems’ bill boosting vets’ benefits

WASHINGTON — A divided Senate on Thursday derailed Democratic legislation that would have provided $21 billion for medical, education and job-training benefits for the nation’s veterans. The bill fell victim to election-year disputes over spending and fresh penalties against Iran.

Each party covets the allegiance of the country’s 22 million veterans and their families, and each party blamed the other for turning the effort into a chess match aimed at forcing politically embarrassing votes.

Republicans used a procedural move to block the bill after Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., chided GOP lawmakers about their priorities.

“I personally, I have to say this honestly, have a hard time understanding how anyone could vote for tax breaks for billionaires, for millionaires, for large corporations and then say we don’t have the resources to protect our veterans,” said Sanders, the measure’s chief author.

Democrats noted that more than two dozen veterans groups supported the legislation. But Republicans said they still favor helping veterans while also wanting to be prudent about federal spending.

“We’re not going to be intimidated on this,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. “We’re going to do the right things for the veterans of America.”

The fight over priorities demonstrated again the bitter divisions that have restrained the legislative process in recent years. Efforts to address immigration, a tax overhaul and job creation all seem likely to go nowhere this year.

Republicans criticized how most of Sanders’ bill was paid for – with unspent money from the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and the winding down of American military involvement in Afghanistan. The GOP says those are not real savings because no one expected those dollars to be spent as those wars ended.

Republicans also objected to provisions making more veterans without service-connected injuries eligible for treatment at Department of Veterans Affairs facilities. They said that would swamp an already overburdened system.

The vote sidetracking the bill was 56-41, with supporters falling four votes short of the 60 they needed to prevail. Sens. Jerry Moran of Kansas and Dean Heller of Nevada were the only Republicans voting to keep the legislation alive and the only lawmakers crossing party lines on the vote.

Veterans groups complained about being caught in partisan crossfire.

“Veterans don’t have time for this nonsense and veterans are tired of being used as political chew toys,” said Paul Rieckhoff, founder and CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which supported the legislation.

Democrats wasted little time trying to cash in on the vote.

Within moments, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee unleashed an email headlined, “Mitch McConnell Votes Against Kentucky Veterans.” McConnell is up for re-election this year.

Republicans said there would be no retribution from voters because the Democratic bill would have harmed veterans’ services by flooding them with too many people. They also said this year’s election campaigns will focus on other issues, such as President Barack Obama’s health law.

“We’re sort of fooling ourselves to believe that this drives the election issue list,” said Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, top Republican on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Thursday’s showdown came after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., refused to allow votes on a GOP amendment slicing the bill’s size and adding the penalties against Iran for its nuclear program.

Obama opposes new penalties while international negotiations with Iran proceed.

Fifty-nine senators of both parties have sponsored a separate bill imposing the punishment if the talks fail, though Obama’s effort has weakened Democratic calls for a quick Senate vote. A vote could put the administration and some Democrats who favor the proposal in an awkward spot.

The White House did not issue a public statement on whether it supported the veterans’ bill.

Sanders’ legislation addressed everything from making more veterans eligible for in-state college tuition to providing fertility or adoption services for some wounded troops left unable to conceive.

The VA would have been given more tools to eat into its backlog of 390,000 benefit claims awaiting action for more than 125 days. The bill also would have bolstered programs for veterans who suffered sexual abuse, and would have increased dental care and provided more alternative medicine, such as yoga for stress.

In a two-year test program, some overweight veterans living more than 15 minutes from a VA gym would have been given memberships at private health clubs.

Benefits for some spouses of deceased veterans would have improved, and aid to relatives caring for a wounded veteran would have been expanded to include those who served before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Huge jump in Solano median home price

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Supervisor candidates square off at forum

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Carli takes oath, now Vacaville’s 14th police chief

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Solano DA hosts workshop to fight human trafficking

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Suisun water rates won’t rise this year

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

Kaiser area head Villalobos to leave for SoCal

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3

 
Donate a car, help build a house

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield town hall on crime delayed

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Railway museum offers wine-tasting rides

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

 
Travis trustee takes back blast at radio duo

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Drugs topic of cardiac class

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

Fairfield police log: April 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: April 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: April 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun Police log: April 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Weather for April 17, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

 
.

US / World

Armed robber was never told to report to prison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Lost sea lion in California found mile from water

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Body of California man who jumped into river found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
California delays decision on protecting gray wolf

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Court rules for environmentalists in water fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Governor calls special session on rainy day fund

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Seabird from Atlantic spotted on Alcatraz

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Ex-Bell city leader gets 12 years in prison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Ferry sinks off South Korea; 6 dead, 290 missing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
NATO ups military presence amid Russian threat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Denver police eye 911 response time after killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Man charged with marathon hoax is held on bail

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Geneva talks on Ukraine face steep hurdles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Pro-Russian insurgents seize armored vehicles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

 
Parenting demands responsibility

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A11

Let’s stop Fairfield’s future thugs

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

 
Obamacare news you probably missed

By Martin Schram | From Page: A11

Editorial Cartoons for April 17, 2014

By Kim Durbin | From Page: A11

 
In support of Pam Bertani

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

.

Living

Today in History for April 17, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

A lesson in household budgeting

By Chris Erskine | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes for April 17, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Alicia Silverstone out with book ‘Kind Mama’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Jenny McCarthy announces engagement on ‘The View’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Ailing Malcolm Young taking break from AC/DC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Disney Channel’s ‘Jessie’ breaks romantic ground

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Daniel Radcliffe on why New York audiences rock

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

 
Crawford’s 41 points leads Warriors over Nuggets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Vacaville’s Peralta to wrestle at San Francisco State

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Angels beat A’s 5-4 on Iannetta’s HR in 12th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

MEL, SCAC tangle in hoops all-star games

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

 
Sharks take goalie questions into rematch vs Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Backup QB Matt Flynn returns to Packers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Atlanta lands MLS expansion team for 2017

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Bucks owner Herb Kohl reaches deal to sell team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sidney Rice agrees to terms with Seahawks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Goodwin helps Suns to 104-99 win over Kings in finale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
IndyCar driver Saavedra fined $10K

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sandoval’s single lifts Giants past Dodgers, 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Officer: Sharper’s DNA found on 1 Arizona victim

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jets sign former Titans RB Chris Johnson

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Spieth ready for more after Masters success

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Yellen: Fed stimulus still needed for job market

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Some exempted from minimum wage, increased or not

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Fed survey: Growth picks up across most of US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Bank of America posts loss, hurt by legal charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

IBM posts lower 1Q earnings amid hardware slump

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Google’s 1Q earnings disappoint as ad prices slip

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9