Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Republican Senate? Not supporting the troops. The Marine Corps Times reports:

By two 54-46 votes, the Senate blocked efforts Tuesday to add money for veterans' health care to the 2005 supplemental appropriations bill....

The Republican Senate? Happy to support a lot of other people in the same bill. The New York Times reported yesterday:

As the Senate began to debate President Bush's request for more than $80 billion in supplemental military spending on Monday, senators seized a chance to pack pet projects into an unstoppable bill, adding provisions dealing with oil drilling, forest services, a new baseball stadium for Washington and economic assistance to Palestinians.

Please note the role of GOP senator Thad Cochran. On veterans' care, the Marine Corps Times tells us this:

[The] amendment would have provided $1.975 billion to the VA, with $525 million earmarked for mental health programs, $610 million provided specifically for the treatment of veterans wounded in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, and $840 million evenly divided between VA regions.

The amendment was blocked by a parliamentary motion from Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Senate Appropriations Committee chairman, who said the funding is not really an emergency need. The Senate voted in support of Cochran’s position...

On other issues? Here's The New York Times:

His own addition to the spending bill was a measure giving Mississippi control of the mineral rights and the ability to permit certain drilling below the Gulf Islands National Seashore in the Gulf of Mexico....

I'll add this, from the NY Times story:

"It is just horrifying," said James Carifano, senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research group. "It's only a couple of million here and a couple of million there, but it takes a couple of million to buy body armor for our troops, and we didn't do it because we couldn't afford it."

Nice to hear that. Fat lot of good it's going to do, though.

(Marine Corps Times link via Democratic Underground.)

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