Reid Wants to Move Forward on Veterans’ Bill Post-Recess

But the legislation faces some pushback from Senate Republicans.

Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT), listens to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar testify during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on May 18, 2010 in Washington, DC. The committee is hearing testimony about the accident involving the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded and is now leaking oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
National Journal
Jordain Carney
Add to Briefcase
Jordain Carney
Feb. 13, 2014, 6:11 a.m.

Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id will try to push for­ward on a wide-ran­ging vet­er­ans’ bill once Con­gress re­turns later this month.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, a lib­er­al in­de­pend­ent from Ver­mont, pre­vi­ously said his le­gis­la­tion could be taken up on Feb. 6, but it got way­laid by a pair of pro­pos­als that sought to re­verse the roughly $6 bil­lion in cuts to vet­er­an pen­sions in­cluded in the Decem­ber budget agree­ment.

After a nearly two-month squabble over how to pay for the pen­sion fund­ing, the Sen­ate passed a bill Wed­nes­day that re­verses the 1 per­cent cut to work­ing-age re­tir­ees’ cost-of-liv­ing ad­just­ment by ex­tend­ing the se­quester on Medi­care spend­ing by a year.

Sanders’s le­gis­la­tion also re­verses the COLA cuts and tackles a swath of vet­er­ans is­sues, in­clud­ing health care, edu­ca­tion, and em­ploy­ment. Wheth­er the le­gis­la­tion will move for­ward with the pen­sion pro­vi­sion in­tact is un­clear. A staffer sug­ges­ted that if the Sen­ate passed oth­er COLA le­gis­la­tion, the Sanders pro­pos­al could be amended and the pro­vi­sion re­moved, or the Sen­ate could pass it as is.

Either way, Sanders is ex­pec­ted to re­ceive push­back on his le­gis­la­tion from Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­ans, and the meas­ure would face an up­hill — if not vir­tu­ally im­possible — battle in the House. Re­pub­lic­ans in both cham­bers are ob­ject­ing to Sanders’s use of Over­seas Con­tin­gency Op­er­a­tions funds to pay for a large chunk of the bill — which is ex­pec­ted to cost $24 bil­lion.

OCO funds have been used to pay for the wars in Ir­aq and Afgh­anistan; and Re­pub­lic­ans ar­gue that with most, if not all, U.S. troops ex­pec­ted out of Afgh­anistan by the end of this year, the OCO funds — which aren’t sub­ject to con­gres­sion­al budget caps — aren’t a re­li­able source of fund­ing for vet­er­ans.

The Sen­ate is ex­pec­ted to re­con­vene on Feb. 24, but it’s likely the vote to end de­bate on Sanders’s le­gis­la­tion won’t be taken up un­til later in the week. Sen­at­ors first have to deal with a hand­ful of nom­in­a­tions, a pro­cess that could be drawn out if the full de­bate time is used.

What We're Following See More »
DISCUSSES "IMPORTANCE OF THE PARTNERSHIP"
Mnuchin Meets with MBS
11 hours ago
THE LATEST
SAYS HIS DEATH STEMMED FROM A FISTFIGHT
Saudis Admit Khashoggi Killed in Embassy
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Saudi Arabia said Saturday that Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident Saudi journalist who disappeared more than two weeks ago, had died after an argument and fistfight with unidentified men inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Eighteen men have been arrested and are being investigated in the case, Saudi state-run media reported without identifying any of them. State media also reported that Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy director of Saudi intelligence, and other high-ranking intelligence officials had been dismissed."

Source:
ROGER STONE IN THE CROSSHAIRS?
Mueller Looking into Ties Between WikiLeaks, Conservative Groups
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is scrutinizing how a collection of activists and pundits intersected with WikiLeaks, the website that U.S. officials say was the primary conduit for publishing materials stolen by Russia, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Mueller’s team has recently questioned witnesses about the activities of longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, including his contacts with WikiLeaks, and has obtained telephone records, according to the people familiar with the matter."

Source:
PROBING COLLUSION AND OBSTRUCTION
Mueller To Release Key Findings After Midterms
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue findings on core aspects of his Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections ... Specifically, Mueller is close to rendering judgment on two of the most explosive aspects of his inquiry: whether there were clear incidents of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and whether the president took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice." Mueller has faced pressure to wrap up the investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, said an official, who would receive the results of the investigation and have "some discretion in deciding what is relayed to Congress and what is publicly released," if he remains at his post.

Source:
PASSED ON SO-CALLED "SAR" REPORTS
FinCen Official Charged with Leaking Info on Manafort, Gates
3 days ago
THE DETAILS
"A senior official working for the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has been charged with leaking confidential financial reports on former Trump campaign advisers Paul Manafort, Richard Gates and others to a media outlet. Prosecutors say that Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a senior adviser to FinCEN, photographed what are called suspicious activity reports, or SARs, and other sensitive government files and sent them to an unnamed reporter, in violation of U.S. law."
Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login