Andrea Mitchell Allows IAVA's Tarantino To Attack Sen. Bernie Sanders For The GOP Obstructing His VA Bill
If anyone needed any further proof that Mrs. Greenspan is every bit as awful as her fellow Villager and counterpart at MSNBC, Dancin' David Gregory, here you go.
Mitchell brought on the IAVA's Tom Tarantino to discuss the fact that with only days left to go, the House and the Senate still have not reached a compromise on their legislation intended to fix some of the problems we've seen with the VA over recent years. So who did Tarantino decide to blame for the roadblock in the legislation being passed?
If you said Bernie Sanders and his fellow members of the Senate who passed the bill by a margin of 93-3, which is almost unheard of these days, instead of the Republicans who do not want to pay for the legislation, you would be correct. Tarantino did his best to paint Sanders as the unreasonable one, rather than his counterparts in the House for the negotiations breaking down, with Mitchell playing right along.
Rachel Maddow on the other hand, brought Sen. Sanders on the air and allowed him to respond directly to her questions about why the negotiations had broken down. As Sanders explained, they were still going to be meeting over the weekend in the hope of coming to some sort of last minute agreement and as usual,Republicans are more than happy to send our soldiers into war without demanding offsets in the budget or that these wars be paid for. When it comes to taking care of the true cost of war, which includes the costs of taking care of our troops after they come home, they've suddenly discovered some fiscal restraint.
They've been playing this game ever since George W. Bush left office and it never seems to grow old for them. Here's Maddow's interview with Sanders from Friday night.
And here's more from Sam Stein on the last minute push to get this passed: With VA Reform Legislation On Life Support, Lawmakers Make One Last Push:
With the likelihood of passing legislation to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs dwindling rapidly, top Republican and Democratic staffers are making a last-ditch effort to find a compromise before the August recess.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, and Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), who chairs its counterpart in the House, spoke to each other on Thursday night, according to Miller. It was the first conversation the two have had since Monday, and Sanders aide Michael Briggs characterized it as “productive.”
Meanwhile, committee staffers have spent Friday working on an agreement, and according to Briggs, “Bernie expects to be talking to Miller again this weekend.”
Miller, likewise, seemed to go out of his way to keep the door open to finding a last-minute deal. In a gaggle with reporters on Friday he said that he and Sanders were working toward putting legislation together and that he would stay in Washington, D.C., through the weekend if necessary.
“I don’t intend on going home for the break without a deal,” Miller said.
Sanders was in Philadelphia on Friday afternoon to speak at the National Association of Letter Carriers' convention and planned to head to Vermont afterward. But Briggs said Sanders was prepared to return to Washington if it would help.
Neither side would go into great detail about what major sticking points remain, but Miller maintained that money was the primary issue. Sanders and VA officials have said that billions of dollars will be needed to cut down on wait times for veterans seeking medical care. Miller has resisted that request and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has called it the equivalent of a blank check, even though Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson has asked for an actual dollar amount ($17 billion).
Sanders, for his part, has said he is fine aiming for a lower figure. But Republicans have resisted, stressing that long VA wait times have persisted even with record funding, and arguing that the request was made outside the normal budgetary process.
“It is an unfunded requirement for an unfunded request,” Miller said. “The administration has not made this an official request.”
Regardless of the outstanding issues, other lawmakers on the conference committee tasked with finishing reform expressed confidence that a deal would get done before they adjourned for August recess.
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