The PJ Tatler

GOP Trying to Use Veterans Bill to Get Vote on Iran Sanctions

Republican leaders in the Senate are turning up the public pressure on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to bring Iran sanctions to the floor, something he promised he’d do before the White House told Dems to step back.

The GOP wants to tie a vote to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) comprehensive veterans package, which advanced on a 99-0 cloture vote yesterday. That would be wrapped in to an alternative to Sanders’ bill crafted by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.).

Under Sanders’ massive bill, veterans without a service-related disability who can only get insurance through the Obamacare exchanges could enroll in the VA healthcare system instead. Veterans would get all immunizations recommended by the CDC, would be eligible for expanded chiropractic and alternative medicine treatments, and could get fitness center memberships paid for through a two-year pilot program.

Fertility treatment would be covered and veterans whose infertility is related to military service would receive adoption assistance. Comprehensive dental care, which is currently offered on a limited basis to certain veterans but doesn’t cover things like dentures, would be offered at 16 locations minimum, for starters.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters yesterday that they want to insert an Iran vote “because it’s a very time sensitive matter.”

“It is incorporated in our alternative and we hope that the Senate majority leader will choose to allow a side-by-side if he doesn’t permit amendments to be offered,” Burr said. “But we look forward to a lengthy debate this week on veteran’s issues and on the Iran sanctions piece of legislation.”

Sanders called the GOP move “silly partisan politics.”

“We can have honest differences on how to address veterans issues, but it is disrespectful to the millions of veterans in this country to introduce an extraneous provision on Iran sanctions,” he said.

Reid said the Senate has always bee “fixated on preventing Iran from having nuclear capability.”

“This is an issue that should be bipartisan. There shouldn’t be partisanship on this issue, and it is too bad, really too bad, that the Republicans are trying to make an issue like this partisan,” Reid said.

“We’ve been trying for months to get a debate and a vote on the Kirk-Menendez Iran sanctions bill,” McConnell told reporters. “We’ll be discussing it at length on the floor on why we should go forward with that legislation and why we ought to get a vote on it.”