WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — A bill to expand healthcare coverage for veterans exposed to toxins and burn pits during service was stalled in the Senate. Some lawmakers and advocates are furious.
“There’s no excuse, it’s total B.S.,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said.
Frustrated by a reversal of support in the Senate, Gillibrand and activist Jon Stewart called out Republicans who stood in the way of healthcare coverage for veterans injured by burn pits.
“Boy, they haven’t met a war they won’t sign up for and they haven’t met a veteran they won’t screw over,” Stewart said.
“Senator Toomey decides he wants to rewrite the bill, change the rules, and tank it,” Gillibrand said.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) says he can’t support the bill.
“It’s about a budget gimmick that’s designed to allow hundreds of billions of dollars in additional unrelated spending, having nothing to do with veterans,” Toomey said.
Ultimately, 25 Republicans who supported a previous version of the bill, voted against it. But Gillibrand isn’t buying their argument.
“How does this happen? How do you change your mind right when you’re about to make a law that’s gonna save lives,” Gillibrand asked.
Eight Republicans voted in support of the legislation, including Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).
“I’m hoping that they resolve these issues and we can get this finished by the time we leave for August,” Capito said.
But until that happens, veteran’s advocates say those Republican senators aren’t being honest.
“Every single one has pictures with veterans on their Facebook pages, on their websites. Well screw that, they don’t support veterans,” Susan Zeier, Mother-In-Law to Sgt. Heath Robinson, said.
These activists are demanding the Senate delay its August recess until this bill is passed.