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U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) arrives to speak to the media about healthcare on Capitol Hill in Washington October 29, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Here's a great encapsulation of our broken government:
Hundreds of veterans with traumatic brain injuries will get kicked out of assisted living facilities this fall unless policymakers in Washington soon extend an expiring pilot program. [...]

The VA has notified Congress that a pilot program for injured veterans will expire at the end of September without congressional action.

A Senate bill that included language to extend the program stalled on the floor earlier this year because of a fight over how to pay for it. The House Veterans’ Affairs panel plans to hold a hearing on two measures to reauthorize the popular program, but time on the legislative calendar is running out.

The program costs between $100 million and $200 million, and the alternatives are more expensive in the long term and less effective for the veterans. Republicans and Democrats both want to pass it. But Republicans already filibustered a veterans' healthcare bill in February, and now this small piece is being held up by, y'know, cost concerns.

Can we just get reporters to admit that any time they're writing that something stalled "because of a fight over how to pay for it," what they're really saying is that Republicans are starving the government of revenue it needs to pay for even programs they claim to support? Because, really. Just do it! Close one corporate tax loophole and fund it for a century ... except Republicans won't do that, so we have these endless, mysterious, "fights over how to pay for" every damn thing.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Thu May 22, 2014 at 08:42 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  And yet Twitter is FULL of rabid GOPer vets. (26+ / 0-)

    I KEEP posting stories like these (thanks Laura!) and it never seems to sink in. When they vote for Republicans, they HURT THEMSELVES. WTF.

    What I REALLY want to know is this: Why? How is the GOP spinning this? Why are these veterans voting against their own health, jobs bills, medical care, benefits? Why don't they stand up and say, "Hey, fuck you, sitting on your ass in your fancy suit, making $172k a year and thinking YOU serve our country. No. I served my country. I risked my life. I came home home damaged. I lived through horrors that you can't imagine. I have nightmares. I can't find a job, can't support my family. I swore to lay down my life for my country. And YOU DENY ME RESPECT, HEALTH CARE, JOBS? Fuck you."

    I am not a vet. But there are many that I know and love. Most are Dems. I think I'll ask a couple of the RWs these questions on FB.

    I yam what I yam --Popeye

    by BadKitties on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:23:01 AM PDT

    •  I know how to pay for it!!!!! (11+ / 0-)

      Enact a $2 billion tax cut for the super rich.  That's how the GOP "pays" for everything, and has since the days of Ronald Reagan.

      “When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.” —Abraham Lincoln

      by Pragmatus on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:10:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why do the GOP leaders present... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        laurnj, bkvwd57, BadKitties, opinionated

        ...such obvious targets for satire?

        “When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.” —Abraham Lincoln

        by Pragmatus on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:23:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I know a better way (4+ / 0-)

        Take away ALL the perks from the right,they get $40,000 for office furniture,cable all printing,chartered planes for the and their family's and their family's can charter private planes for their use.  There salary is totally free.  Free cable,travel expenses,staff postage.  Go online and see what the govt. Reimburses these jackasses for.  They pay for nothing.  Now they want to deny Veterans who sacrificed so much while these jerks piddle away our money.  They should be hung by their balls and left on public display in the Smithsonian under "worthless government officials".  They find money for unnecessary wars,tax breaks to the wealthy, they give themselves automatic pay raises yearly,and have witch hunt never ending committees that never bring results.  This is a no brainer!  Devils in good suits is all they are.  May they rot from the inside out while still living.  Never has our country hemmed and hawed over Veterans benefits like these jokers.  When people like Alan West receives a pension and truly injured Vets may be screwed out of care something sure is rotten in Washington.  It's called The Republican Party and the need to become extinct.

    •  Twitter is all those limited GOPers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RareBird0

      can handle in terms of trains of thought.

      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

      by agnostic on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:16:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I can tell you why. Part of it is infilltration (0+ / 0-)

      of the military by Evangel Christian organizations.  Part of it is also the fact that every VA clinic I have ever been in has their tv's turned to FOX news.  They are getting brainwashed!  

  •  I would like to see McTurtle actually visit (11+ / 0-)

    an assisted living facility and find out just how incapacitated these Vets have been rendered.  Most are young adults, their lives ruined.  

    Governing for needs of actual people is just to burdensome for these lawmakers.  People are too expensive, too hungry, too needy.  There's no profit in it.  

    the dog you have, is the dog you need. - Cesar Millan

    by OregonWetDog on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:31:53 AM PDT

  •  Iraq burn rate: $12 billion per MONTH. Unpaid for. (14+ / 0-)

    WTF, repigs?

    "He went to Harvard, not Hogwarts." ~Wanda Sykes
    Teh Twitterz, I'z awn dem.
    Blessinz of teh Ceiling Cat be apwn yu, srsly.

    by OleHippieChick on Thu May 22, 2014 at 09:47:28 AM PDT

  •  Horse trading with horse thieves (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gratuitous, Pragmatus, bkvwd57

    Republicans have figured out that they can always horse trade, even when they have no horses.

    Whatever they agree to this round of negotiations will be stolen back before the next round starts.

  •  This seems to be a bi-partisan effort (6+ / 0-)

    I am excited that both democrats and republicans are on board with this.  I know that the funding part is in question but that will be worked out when both parties are adamant about continuing a program....especially in light of the current focus in the news about the failures at the VA.  

    I am a Vietnam Veteran and am in the VA health care system and by and large, they do a wonderful service to we vets.  I'll bet that this program will remain and that funding will be found.  The whole problem within the VA health care is funding.  Democrats are willing to borrow to fund more/better care and republicans aren't.  That's the bottom line.

  •  The Lapel Pins and flags are gonna be all over (11+ / 0-)

    the place this weekend.....hypocrites.

  •  Goddammit! This isn't a "broken government" (12+ / 0-)

    issue!

    It's a "Republicans want as many people as possible to die" issue.

    it's not a fucking math mistake.

    Legal means "good".
    [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

    by xxdr zombiexx on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:03:04 AM PDT

  •  A spike in brain injuries beginning in 2003 (9+ / 0-)

    I wonder why that happened? Probably some Agenda 21 thing from the UN designed to distract patriotic Americans while terrorists seize our golf courses.

    Anyway, it's just wonderful the way Republicans keep such a close eye on the purse strings when it comes to caring for wounded veterans. They're a little less circumspect about paying for programs that create wounded veterans, but at least they're concerned about the cost somewhere along the line.

  •  is there a group that is dedicated... (7+ / 0-)

    ... to educating Vets and Republicans about issues like this?  It is time to start educating folks so that they can vote these people out.  And so they can lend their voices to the awakening.

  •  U.S. History (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pragmatus, Egalitare, bkvwd57, Ginny in CO

    Sad but true: Our Veterans have been political footballs since before the game of football was invented.

    Americans are in real trouble. The oligarchs are misanthropes.

    by Road to1 Escondido on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:08:53 AM PDT

  •  Wait a minute -- 100s, between 100 and 200 million (0+ / 0-)

    dollars?

    So --

    How many hundreds?
    100 and 200 million over what time period?

    If it's 200 hundred vets and 200 million dollars a year, I could see somebody raising a fuss.  A million dollars per veteran seems pretty wasteful.

    So -- what are the right numbers?  It seems like a good thing to do, and to do for more than just the few people being helped now.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:10:18 AM PDT

  •  Maybe they can agree to post a bill that has none (0+ / 0-)

    of the politically grandstanding "hitchhikers" the last bill had, or, God forbid, force the VA to properly administer the programs that are already funded.    

    Maybe Congress can start keeping a separate list of bills that it claims to have passed, to show to the public, like the VA does on its treatment statistics.  

    The VA fiasco really burns my ass.  That veterans have to wait in line while people jockey with their lives over extending pork barrel programs is a sin.

    If you get confused, listen to the music play - R. Hunter

    by SpamNunn on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:18:25 AM PDT

    •  The more horrendous thing is... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DaNang65, ssgbryan, bkvwd57

      That three different studies found that per patient the VA cost 40% less bet delivers 30% better health outcomes
      http://thinkprogress.org/...
      http://thinkprogress.org/...

      So the VA provides some of the best medical care in the country the problem is that republicans have made eligibility into the VA so complex and costly that many Vets cant use its services.
      What needs to be done is that VA funding needs to be set not as a certain number but as a certain number times the number of Vets in the country and all Vets and their immediate families can use its services. Their not only do we solve wait times but we expand better quality health care to thousands

      We only think nothing goes without saying.

      by Hamtree on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:37:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I will tell you, as a VA nurse, that one thing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mjd in florida, Ginny in CO

      that could and should be done to stop waste is to stop upgrading nursing positions to RN when the position calls for no more skill than is required from a Nursing Assistant.  

      I know of MANY current positions in my facility where an RN is mandated, yet these nurses do nothing more than take and record vital signs, which is all that is required of them and could be competently done by someone with far less education and a far lower salary. Yet nursing positions in my VA continue to be "upgraded" from NA or LPN to a position that can only be filled by an RN, but that only requires only the most basic of skills. The increase in salaries paid is astronomical and the value of the increase is not returned in the actual work performed.

      I don't understand why or how these upgrades are justifiable, other than the fact that it looks "good" on paper to have more RNs, versus fewer lesser licensed positions. Is it okay to pay an RN salary, sometimes 2 to 3 times the salary of an LPN, to someone who does nothing more than what an NA can do? I don't think so, and yet it continues unabated. And this is but one small issue.

      Aside from the above, the bottom line is this: at my facility, we are strained to the breaking point. To accommodate the enormous influx of new patients we are facing (secondary to the end of the Iraq and Afghan wars, and the fact that our failing economy gives vets who can't find work, and therefore health insurance, no choice but to come into the system) we need a much larger facility and hundreds more providers. Without a huge increase in budget so that we can improve our infrastructure and increase staff, we will never be able to accommodate anyone in the feel-good time period (14 day waits maximum for any appointment) promised. We cannot do more with less, but that is what us expected. This is what everyone in the legislature and leadership seems to want to avoid talking about and dealing with. Why? Because the political will simply isn't there for the fight on either side, not in this day and age of austerity and budget cuts and going along to get along.

  •  The GOP doesn't require funding (5+ / 0-)

    before starting wars that resulted in wounded veterans, but they're poor-mouthing over paying for their care when they come home? Seriously, I've long ago run out of polite ways to describe these people. "Soulless" doesn't begin to cover it.

    (aka NobleExperiments). ‎"Those who make a peaceful revolution impossible make a violent revolution inevitable" ~ John F. Kennedy

    by smrichmond on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:22:42 AM PDT

  •  If funding lapses ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    laurnj, meg, bkvwd57

    Perspective of a 91B40, '67-'68 Viet Nam, p.h.x2 ...

    If Congress does not extend this program, those responsible should expect to burn in Hell. You send young men and women into ghastly situations, and when they return you treat them like trash.

    You cut the budgets, and then blame the (fewer) working stiffs in the Departments for the consequences.

    It's immoral, inconsiderate, unpatriotic, dishonest ...

  •  I am going to take a wild stab (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bkvwd57, opinionated

    at where they will "find" the money.  They will take it away from the poor...and their children.  I wonder what they will do when they have taken every nickel they can from the poor.  THEN where will they "find" money?  The elderly?  THEN where?

  •  If the RW could (would) meet the youg vet I (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bkvwd57, opinionated

    met recently, his honor and courage would shame them.  The dignity our vets show in the face of their injuries amazes me.
    What a disgrace they all are on the Repug side; empty suits, no hearts, all smoke and mirrors.   If I could change my older vet brother's mind, I'd die happy.  

    What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset. Crowfoot

    by Catkin on Thu May 22, 2014 at 10:49:16 AM PDT

  •  Investigate Congress Inadequate Funding Veterans (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    laurnj, mjd in florida, opinionated

    Please sign White House Petition

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/...

    WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
    Investigate and hold accountable Congress for not adequately funding the Department of Veterans Affairs.
    Whereas Congress chooses to give tax cuts to the rich rather than adequately fund the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, and all agencies that are responsible for providing health care to Veterans, Congress must be investigated and held responsible for any and every vote to not sufficiently fund Veterans health care and the Veterans Administration health care system.

    We the people demand a truthful, accurate, and independent investigation as to why our Veterans are withheld health care because the Congress does not adequately fund, or because Congress shuts down government preventing the government from providing timely and adequate health care to our veterans.

  •  Laura, Laura, Laura. (3+ / 0-)

    First an apology in advance. I love your work, and enjoy reading what you write.

    But.

    ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING? Getting a pseudo-journalist to tell the truth without this idiotic "both sides do it" meme? You honestly expect them to call a spade a spade, a rake a rake, a gaggle of Palin supporters a gaggle of silly geese, and the GOP a bunch of reactive, ultra-conservative, treasonous bastards who like mucking up govmint because Freedom and Ben Ghazi and all that shit?

    Sigh.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:16:17 AM PDT

  •  Rethug Patriotism = Waving the Flag in Your Face (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    laurnj, bkvwd57, opinionated

    The Party of Stupid starts pre-emptive wars by borrowing the money from China and doesn't think about the actual cost of them or the money needed to treat the surviving wounded warriors who desparately need rehabilitation services, disability incomes, and lifelong medical help.

  •  T&R's for this line.. (0+ / 0-)

    "Can we just get reporters to admit that any time they're writing that something stalled "because of a fight over how to pay for it," what they're really saying is that Republicans are starving the government of revenue it needs to pay for even programs they claim to support?"

    If you don't like it, attack the message, not the messenger. The former may convince me that I am wrong, but the latter will always convince that I am right.

    by nancyjones on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:28:40 AM PDT

  •  Republicans have owned defunding (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bkvwd57, opinionated

    social programs since the beginning of the Southern Strategy, especially during the Starve the Beast effort under Ronald Reagan. That is how they sold tax cuts for the rich and running up military spending to lower-income racists and bigots for decades.

    Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

    by Mokurai on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:30:25 AM PDT

  •  Republicans End Funding for Brain Injuries (3+ / 0-)

    because the only traumatic brain injury that Republicans are concerned about is Hillary's.

  •  Brain dead repukes have THEIR healthcare and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    laurnj

    say f**k off to the vets who did their bidding.

    We really Dr. Guillotine and his machine.

  •  People aren't believing (0+ / 0-)

    Karl Rove's story about Hilary's 'brain damage,' so they have to get their own back this way.

    "Guns don't kill people. People in states without gun-purchase background checks & waiting periods kill people." --John Fugelsang

    by Artryst on Thu May 22, 2014 at 06:35:39 PM PDT

  •  I swear that Republicans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BLUE Skies in Red Hell

    Are made from left over Frankenstein parts.  They lack so much in any kind of humanity,empathy and sympathy.  The old buzzard Ronnie Reagan started all this.  He is no Saint and is far from Heaven.  The right only takes away.  It must be mass hypnosis of this party.  It's hard to believe that the U.S. Is comprised of so many idiots.  Worse yet,they do not want to improve their lot in life.  

  •  It's called "Rational Self-Interest." (0+ / 0-)

    We're looking at people whose lives have been ruined in order to train them to obey and kill, for what turns out to have been a pointless, savage lie...sold and pushed by the Republicans. Why would the people who did this to them want them to have their brain injuries healed? They might start screaming for JUSTICE. It'd be the Hague for them all! On the other hand, killing machines with broken minds can always have their anger directed toward scapegoats....

    "See those LIBERALS? They HATE you. You DISGUST them."
    "They think you're STUPID - just like those TEACHERS in HIGH SCHOOL. Remember them? FAGS."
    "They say you did this for NOTHING, and that you're WORTHLESS now."
    "And yet...they FEAR you."
    "They PARTIED in COLLEGE while you FOUGHT FOR THEM. IGNORANT INGRATES!"
    "They think they're so SMART...but 'smart' is actually STUPID. 'Smart' isn't REAL. You can FEEL that, can't you?"
    "Only STRONG is REAL. Pain is WEAKNESS leaving the body. The war PURIFIED your mind...it made you STRONG."
    "Now they're JEALOUS of YOU. They want to TAKE AWAY AMERICA - they want to make sure your CHILDREN NEVER get to be STRONG, like you. They want to turn everyone into HIPPIES...but what if you say NO?"
    "Go forth, HERO! DEFEND AMERICA!"

  •  Veterans needing care. (2+ / 0-)

    All the GOTP want to claim the US has to support our Veterans. The latest fire storm being reported on the delays of care that for some Vets, lost their life.

    These problems are nothing new. The backlog of claims that Vets have had to endure also harms many vets. Claims for benefits for those who served their country have been marred in a backlog.

    The GOTP have denied by their actions, benefits that for many will be needed to support themselves. People like Boehner and Issa fight any increases in money allocated to the VA. Then they walk around acting as though they are all in for the Veterans knowing they voted to not allocate the proper funding needed to meet the countries  Veterans needs.

    Many of the problems with the VA will once again be rehashed as the problems have not really been fixed since the last dust ups. It is terrible I have no confidence that the problems will be corrected.

    I really wanted to spit when I watched Shinseki as he claimed the Backlog has been cut in half. Someone should look into that lie as well. See when the VA adjusters denied many many claims to get them off the backlog list. Then the Veterans file an appeal keeping the claim open but the VA does not count those claims in the backlog list. I am a vet who was screwed many years ago by the VA on a misdiagnosed claim. I filed a claim again in 2008. It was denied and my files has been sitting under a desk used as a footstool. I was able to find 98% of the proof I needed to prove my claim. The problems and difficulties I have had as a result of the VA's poor performance of taking care of the Vets since not being able to work since 1999.

    I would challenge any Vets who vote against their own interests to Google VA missing and lost files, and shredding claim documents or purposely losing files. It might just open some eyes and wise these folks up.....bc  

  •  Veterans needing care. (0+ / 0-)

    All the GOTP want to claim the US has to support our Veterans. The latest fire storm being reported on the delays of care that for some Vets, lost their life.

    These problems are nothing new. The backlog of claims that Vets have had to endure also harms many vets. Claims for benefits for those who served their country have been marred in a backlog.

    The GOTP have denied by their actions, benefits that for many will be needed to support themselves. People like Boehner and Issa fight any increases in money allocated to the VA. Then they walk around acting as though they are all in for the Veterans knowing they voted to not allocate the proper funding needed to meet the countries  Veterans needs.

    Many of the problems with the VA will once again be rehashed as the problems have not really been fixed since the last dust ups. It is terrible I have no confidence that the problems will be corrected.

    I really wanted to spit when I watched Shinseki as he claimed the Backlog has been cut in half. Someone should look into that lie as well. See when the VA adjusters denied many many claims to get them off the backlog list. Then the Veterans file an appeal keeping the claim open but the VA does not count those claims in the backlog list. I am a vet who was screwed many years ago by the VA on a misdiagnosed claim. I filed a claim again in 2008. It was denied and my files has been sitting under a desk used as a footstool. I was able to find 98% of the proof I needed to prove my claim. The problems and difficulties I have had as a result of the VA's poor performance of taking care of the Vets since not being able to work since 1999.

    I would challenge any Vets who vote against their own interests to Google VA missing and lost files, and shredding claim documents or purposely losing files. It might just open some eyes and wise these folks up.....bc  

  •  The true absurdity of the "how to pay for it" (0+ / 0-)

    concern is that such a question ignores the price these veterans with traumatic brain injuries have paid in service of their country, a price which under sane, functional circumstances would guarantee whatever care they require, no matter the cost, without the games being played by Republicans.

    To ignore the toxicity of the current behavior exhibited by Republicans holding elective office is to be utterly self-destructive.

  •  "Supporting The Troops" (0+ / 0-)

    One more shining example of Rethuglican "support". http://youtu.be/...

  •  Fund the VA (0+ / 0-)

    Conservatives want to have it both ways, deny the VA (and many other government functions) the funds they need, and then have low information voters blame these programs, their supervisors, and the administration (if Democratic) for the failure to do their jobs well.

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