Multiple members of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee spent nearly an hour in the late afternoon arguing the full chamber needs to quickly vote on the pending Veterans First Act, a massive veterans omnibus authored by committee chairman Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.
"Three and a half weeks ago every member of our committee voted unanimously for the Veterans First bill," Isakson said. "Why? Because it first of all hits the heart and strikes the point we all know needs to be struck.
"Our veterans, who have served us, fought for us, risked their lives for us, deserve the respect, the treatment, and benefits they were promised when they signed up for duty."
"We are not talking about handouts, we are talking about something veterans have earned, and that we keep faith with them," he said. "This measure is bipartisan. Nothing stands in its way. There is no reason that merits its being stopped or blocked."
But Isakson has said he sees the measure as a work in progress, and is anxious to get some version of the legislation over to the House to begin negotiations on a final omnibus agreement.
After this week, the Senate has only 12 legislative days scheduled before an extended election-year summer break starting July 15. The House is not scheduled to return to work until July 5, and will start their two-month break the same day.
Leo Shane III covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.