Let the groans begin:
Johnson blamed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for rushing "a different bill onto the floor of the Senate without even an estimate of costs."That's right! It's all Harry Reids fault.
He scheduled a vote on a bill that was introduced in February by Sen. Bernie Sanders which was negotiated with Republican Senator John McCain and distributed to all members for discussion.
Maybe RoJo slept through all that. Maybe he didn't bother to notice (or care about) the crisis in the VA system that has been national news. It wouldn't be the first time he didn't attend briefings and informational sessions. He was already embarrassed by his laziness when he tried to grill Secretary of State John Kerry and had to admit he didn't attend the briefing on the subject before the hearing.
Why are the "costs" of this a problem for him? He's clearly never met a tax cut for rich people or subsidy for corporations he doesn't like. And he's all for military spending (except for veterans, as we've seen). But disaster recover? No, that has to be offset by cuts elsewhere. Care for veterans? He frets about those costs, too.
Don't get gray hair and wrinkles even thinking about the hypocrisy. It doesn't make sense.
Democratic Party of Wisconsin chair Mike Tate ridiculed Johnson's vote.
"Tea Party embarrassment Ron Johnson is so blinded by his devotion to a radical, Ayn Rand-ian brand of extremism that he cast one of only three votes against a measure to help veterans get the health care they need and deserve," Tate said in a statement.
The real reason, of course, is that Johnson wants to privatize the VA just like he wants to privatize every governmental function. In that world view, governments should exist to funnel taxpayer money into corporate profit.
While he doesn't bother his head over the costs of tax cuts for the rich, Pentagon spending, war, or the ever-increasing costs of privatization, the costs of services for the public or (God-forbid) any social safety net programming must be cut, cut cut until they're gone.
Here's his official statement.
“Our veterans are the finest among us and deserve high quality health care. The VA has not been delivering on that promise because it is a bureaucratic, government-run health care system that is broken. I was an original cosponsor of the McCain-Coburn-Burr-Flake Veterans Choice Act that provided common-sense reforms. It would have remedied the health care crisis for our vets by giving them the freedom to choose where to access health care when they either lived too far away from existing VA facilities or their appointment waiting times were excessive. It would have prioritized veterans by allowing Congress to cut lower-priority spending.RoJo is already unpopular in Wisconsin. He spent 4 years in Washington DC embarrassing the state. His familiar greeting "Don't ask me for anything" make him unpopular with nearly everyone.
“But instead of taking the time to thoughtfully consider all the ramifications, Harry Reid rushed a different bill onto the floor of the Senate without even an estimate of its cost. Less than 30 minutes before the vote, the CBO, Congress’ nonpartisan accountants, provided a preliminary, partial estimate showing this bill would add another $35 billion to the VA budget in just the first two and a quarter years, and $50 billion per year after that.
“This legislation doesn’t fix the systemic problems or ensure our veterans get quality, on-time health care. It does spend more money to expand a broken system. Our veterans deserve better than this bill provides. I hope a more careful cost analysis and the Senate/House conference process will produce legislation I can support.”
But, with the need to run again in 2016, RoJo has been spending a bit of time in Wisconsin this year- even scheduling a few (gasp!) Town Halls (his first) as well as giving a few interviews to state media. I think he's started to notice how unpopular he has become and not just in Washington.
Keep on making dumb moves, Senator. The more you make, the dumber you look. And, yes, people are noticing. Even showing up for the peasants a couple of times in your home state won't help.
Your hopes at re-election are fading each time you do stuff like this. And no amount of flag pin wearing and posing in front of an American flag will make you look any better. You've become quite the embarrassment for our state.
And then there's this.
The man was a post-Vietnam era, non-combat veteran who came to one of the parking lots, pulled out a gun and shot himself. A Disabled American Veterans van driver saw the man shoot himself and immediately alerted VA police and medical staff, who provided medical care until the veteran was taken by ambulance to Froedtert, said Gary Kunich, VA Hospital spokesman.Whether or not this is related to access problems or not, it's still a sad reminder on the needs of veterans.
He was taken to Froedtert Hospital, where he died, because they have a Level 1 trauma center.