House

Pelosi slams Coburn for blocking VA suicide bill

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) didn’t mince words when blaming Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) for blocking a bill to help prevent veteran suicides.

The House passed the legislation, which is named after a Marine veteran named Clay Hunt who committed suicide, by voice vote last week. 

{mosads}But on Monday night, retiring Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) objected when senators tried to pass it by unanimous consent. Coburn argued that the bill wouldn’t effectively hold the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) accountable.

In a blistering statement, Pelosi accused Coburn of not caring about veterans.

“Our veterans have cried out to our nation to act to help them. But this week, Senator Tom Coburn decided that our veterans are not worthy of our help,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi further slammed Coburn’s legacy of blocking otherwise bipartisan legislation.

“History will not remember kindly the man who spent his final days in the Senate denying our veterans the help they desperately need,” Pelosi said.

Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.), the bill’s sponsor, said this week that he will “immediately” reintroduce the measure when the new Congress starts in January.

Walz’s legislation would require a third party to annually evaluate suicide prevention programs at the VA and Department of Defense. It would also create a pilot program to pay for psychiatrists’ education loans if they work at the VA for at least two years.

Coburn used his last days in Congress to block multiple bills with wide bipartisan support, including the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act and an energy efficiency measure.

Tags Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Department of Veterans Affairs Nancy Pelosi Tom Coburn

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