Furious that Schumer and Manchin made a compromise deal that would deal with Climate, slightly raise corporate taxes and slightly lower some prescription drug prices, McConnell and his cronies decided to take it out on… veterans. With all Democrats favoring a cloture vote against McConnell’s filibuster against veterans, they needed to Republicans to get past his veto. Only 8 Republicans voted aye (with Leahy, Manchin and Murkowski out of town) so the cloture attempt failed. Among the Republicans voting with the Dems on this were 5 up for reelection in November. But who virtually never break with their party: Marco Rubio (FL), Jerry Moran (KS), John Hoeven (ND), Chuck Grassley (IA) and John Boozman (AR). By the way 25 Republicans voted for the legislation las month to supporting the filibuster this week.
Schumer will try cloture again Monday and in the interim veterans are sitting in at the Capitol. They’re just embarrassing themselves— and endangering themselves— by voting no. As Newsweek reported<> yesterday, Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Steve Daines have been “criticized for fist bumping on the Senate floor after the GOP blocked a bill that would have expanded healthcare coverage for military veterans exposed to toxic burn pits during their service.”
Vets, like Missouri Senate candidate Lucas Kunce, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, are furious and that fury is directed towards Republicans. NBC News reported that vets are seeing the GOP antics as tanking health coverage to millions of former military members exposed to toxic burn pits during their service. If that's goes into their calculus for decided who to vote for in November, it could get a lot uglier for GOP hopes to take over Congress.
This morning, Kunce penned an OpEd for Fox: Republicans turned their backs on Iraq veterans like me who were exposed to toxic burn pits. Why for Fox? "I want Josh Hawley, Roy Blunt, and every single Senate Republican who betrayed our veterans to see it," he wrote. Kunce was stationed at the Al Taqaddum Airbase, a Marine captain leading a police training team— “Twelve Marines and a Navy Corpsman. Running missions through Habbaniyah, Fallujah, and Ramadi. It was my first of three tours of duty during the War on Terror. And from our camp, the base’s burn pit loomed over us. Smoke columns filled the sky and blew through our living space. We ran through it, joking about how we should be doing gas mask runs. For three months that pit bathed us in toxic fumes. We accepted it and focused on our duty. For me, that was planning our routes and pouring over intel to avoid the immediate danger: IEDs on all the convoys and missions we were running outside the wire. I was so proud to bring every member of that team home safely. Or so I thought. Because, as it turns out, we couldn’t protect ourselves from our own country.”
When I got back from Iraq, I developed a persistent tickle in my throat. Constant irritation. I never had allergies before and annoyed myself with the constant throat clearing.
Eventually, I was so embarrassed by it that I went to the base clinic. They said it was postnasal drip and that they could give me allergy medicine. There was no formal diagnosis. But over 10 years later, it’s still there.
Bothersome. Uncomfortable, but certainly manageable. And that’s about the best story you’ll hear about a vet who’s been exposed to burn pits.
Many struggle with chronic respiratory issues. Migraines. Cancer. So imagine how we all felt on Thursday, watching all these Republicans, most of whom have never even worn the uniform, throw us a giant middle finger?
I know that’s harsh language, but it has to be. Because what they did was about as anti-American as it gets.
Patriots don’t attack veterans who suffered injuries or illness from being around those toxic pits. And what really grinds my gears about this whole thing is that a bunch of these Republicans spent years voting to keep us in forever wars, lying to the American people about what was really going on over there, and getting rich off their defense contractor stocks that skyrocket when we’re at war.
These people profited off of sending us over there only to screw us when we came back messed up. It’s criminal.
If Republicans don’t have a patriotic bone in their spine, then we need to step the heck up as Democrats and do something about it.
Get rid of the filibuster and pass the stuff that’s going to help us everyday Americans. Veterans shouldn’t have to wait any longer for Washington to do its job.
We did our time. I served my country for 13 years in the United States Marine Corps. I’d give anything for this country.
I only wish our leaders could make an ounce of the sacrifice that our veterans have.
Our country would be a better place.