How Mitch McConnell's legislative graveyard is leaving veterans behind
On this Veterans Day, here’s a reminder from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about recognizing the service of the men and women in our military. "On Veterans Day, a grateful nation gives thanks for the heroism and indomitable spirit of the 22 million veterans who have fought for freedom around the world and strengthened our democracy here at home," she writes.
In recognization of that service, House Committees have "held 32 hearings and passed 25 bipartisan bills on the Floor, and are now advancing robust legislation that provides equity for women veterans accessing VA," she points out. "Democrats have worked across the aisle to secure historic funding levels for VA's mental health and suicide prevention initiatives, passed fixes to end unjust and unfair taxes on military families and expanded benefits for Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange."
A total of 56 House bills have passed that have addressed veterans either as a focus or peripherally. But of the 25 Pelosi discusses, none have passed in the Senate, aka Moscow Mitch McConnell's graveyard. Those include:
- H.R. 95: Homeless Veteran Families Act, passed on October 15, with a 28% chance of being enacted;
- H.R. 2045: To establish in the Department the Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration, passed on May 21, with a 2% chance of being enacted;
- H.R. 1812, to furnish Vet Center readjustment counseling and related mental health services to certain individuals, passed on May 21, with a 2% chance of being enacted;
- H.R. 2333: Support for Suicide Prevention Coordinators Act, passed on May 21, with a 2% chance of being enacted;
- H.R. 2372: Veterans’ Care Quality Transparency Act, passed on May 21, with a 2% chance of being enacted.
Since the Senate hasn't passed any of those bills, McConnell's remarks marking this day are limited to the anodyne: "The Senate will not be in session on Monday, as we honor Veterans Day. But I know that each of our members will be remembering and giving thanks for all veterans, and for those brave men and women serving today," he said on the floor last week.
From Moscow Mitch, there’s nothing but lip service to America's veterans.