A bill to provide long-overdue healthcare and disability compensation to U.S. Navy veterans exposed to Agent Orange deserved unanimous congressional passage — and it almost had it.
But one U.S. senator, Wyoming’s Mike Enzi, recently stood up and said no, scuttling the a two-year bipartisan effort.
|Listen to Enzi turn his back on veterans|
“We owe our veterans, who have sacrificed for their country, our careful consideration of legislation that would affect them so much,” Enzi said in a press release. “The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act is no exception. Yet the Veterans Administration continues to have serious concerns. This could impact veterans across the board. We need to carefully increase benefits.
Right, senator. That’s why you single-handedly blocked a bipartisan bill that would help up to 90,000 Blue Water Navy veterans receive the care they deserve after it passed the House 382-0.
What on earth would you have done if you didn’t respect them so much?
It takes real intestinal fortitude to sign off on a statement that’s so divorced from the reality of one’s actions. Perhaps being able to stomach such spin is a symptom of having been in Washington too long. Or maybe it’s a side effect of prolonged exposure to the Trump administration. In Enzi’s case, I diagnose both.
Whatever the cause, his words and actions are an embarrassment to Wyoming and a disservice to our fighting men and women.
Enzi, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, claimed he acted out of fiscal responsibility. That would be easier to swallow if he hadn’t wholeheartedly backed a huge tax cut for corporations and the country’s richest individuals that is estimated to add at least $1.5 trillion to the national deficit over the next decade.
No, Enzi had to play deficit hawk with the lives of veterans hanging in the balance. Shame on him.