WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), today released the following statement after voting for a budget point of order on S. 1982, the Comprehensive veterans bill offered by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.):
“Majority Leader Reid has again failed to work with republican senators on a critical bill, this time one that would address several of the problems currently plaguing our veteran community,” said Inhofe. “Sen. Sander’s bill was not the proper way to address these problems, and I could not support his attempt to take funding from our active-duty military currently serving in harm’s way. Doing so only increases the amount of risk they are already facing, and as I've said before, risk equals lives. I wanted an opportunity to vote on a substitute amendment I cosponsored offered by Sen. Richard Burr that among other things would have allowed the VA to establish 27 major medical facilities, including one in Tulsa, Okla., that our nation’s veterans desperately need. I am disappointed that the Majority Leader’s actions have prevented the Senate from providing the nation’s more than 21 million veterans, including more than 320,000 in Oklahoma, with these reforms and changes to the Department of Veterans Affairs. I will continue to fight for these important reforms in the coming weeks and hope that Majority Leader Reid will allow the Senate to provide proper care for our nation’s heroes.”
Inhofe is an original cosponsor of Sen. Richard Burr’s (R-N.C.) amendment no. 2752 to S. 1982 which would have allowed the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to enter into 27 major medical facility leases in 18 states and Puerto Rico, including a community based outpatient clinic in Tulsa, Okla. The amendment also would remove a provision in Sen. Sander's legislation on a private sector internship program for young veterans that would cost the VA roughly $600 million over five years according the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Furthermore, the amendment would allow the VA to continue to disapprove education courses if a university charges higher tuition than the in-state tuition rate for post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.