"This is a common-sense amendment that will secure disability payments for veterans and make sure we are not paying for disabilities that are not truly service-related," said Coburn.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) countered that injuries caused by herbicides like Agent Orange were too difficult to track among former members of the military in order to justify such stringent standards.
“Our military did a miserable job of tracking these exposures," said Murray. "No veteran is going to be able to tell you when or much of this poison, Agent Orange, they inhaled.”
The Senate voted 69 to 30 to table Coburn’s amendment.
An amendment offered by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) to ensure that “wounded warriors” get the benefits of next-generation advanced prosthetics in a timely fashion and an amendment offered by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to order a study on the infrastructure of Department of Defense schools were both agreed to by unanimous consent.
Republican Sens. Tom Coburn (Okla.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.) both voted against the underlying legislation.
The Senate is expected to now move to the House GOP's legislation to cut and cap federal spending while adding a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.