A Veteran's Health Bill has not been considered by the U.S. Senate by today, Veteran's Day 2009, because U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) placed a hold on the bill, claiming that unfunded spending has to stop. Some of the people who would have been eligible to benefit from the bill received injuries in the course of their military service this week.
The cost of the bill is in the single digit millions. The annual federal budget is in the millions of millions of dollars each year. The defense budget is in the high hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars each year.
Coburn's protest is like an investment banker taking a stand to control his personal spending by refusing to buy his most well behaved child a cheeseburger on his birthday.
Does Coburn propose any revenue raising options to pay for this pittance of bill to help needy Veterans and ask his colleagues to consider this amendment? No. Does Coburn propose a spending cut to pay for this bill and then ask his colleagues to choose between them? No.
Rather than proposing a solution to a problem that he admits exists, Coburn simply says "no" to a bill that has no meaningful impact on the lack of fiscal discipline he says that is trying to address.
Another day, we can ponder the insanity of a U.S. Senate with a filibuster proof Democratic party majority that gives a Republican Senator with not a single other Senator's agreement a heckler's veto over legislation. Even Robert's Rules of Order requires a second to consider a motion. Suffice it to say that the U.S. Constitution does not require this level of deference to Senator Coburn's tantrum.
Today, it is enough to note Senator Coburn's gross disrespect for America's Veterans on the merits. He knows no shame.