Reid: ‘Shame on’ GOP for politicizing veterans bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday that Republicans injected politics into a veterans bill that should have been bipartisan.

“Shame on Republicans for bringing base-politics into a bill to help veterans,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “They are pushing an unrelated amendment on Iran that they knew would kill the bill.”

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The Senate is considering a nearly $23 billion bill from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that would expand healthcare and education programs for veterans. Votes to advance the measure are expected later Thursday, but it’s unlikely that Republicans will join Democrats in passing it because no amendments were allowed.

Reid refused to allow an up-or-down vote on a GOP alternative that included Iran sanctions. He said the issue was unrelated to the bill at hand and was an attempt from Republicans to “kill the bill” by injecting partisan politics.

"The majority leader is determined not to allow a single vote on the Kirk-Menendez bill, which could be fully debated by this body prior to a vote," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said. "We will not have that debate, nor will we vote on any amendments related to the bill before us.”

The administration has asked Democrats to hold off on any votes to increase sanctions against Iran until it’s completed a six-month negotiation aimed at stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.