Minority Leaders Mitch McConnell declined to answer a question Monday about why the law was upheld.
“It will pass this week,” he said.
Other Republicans on the Senate leadership took a similar tone. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) Tells POLITICO that he will “wait for it to pass” and Sen. John Thune (RS.D.), number 2 by McConnell, repeats that “at some point this will pass and it will pass big”.
Republicans say they blocked the bill because of concerns led by the Senator. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) On what the retired senator called a “budget gimmick” — language he argued could allow certain funds to be used for unrelated programs. to veterans health care. That language was on the bill when it was initially passed by the Senate in an 84-14 vote, before a technical glitch forced the whole house to vote again.
“This thing takes out the potion, but remember why it ran out of medicine. When they passed it here the first time, they did it wrong,” Thune said, adding that it was the Democrats who “did it” the first time. “
Schumer is expected to force another vote on the veterans bill this week, announcing Monday that he will bring it up “in the coming days.”
“We’re going to give Senate Republicans another chance to do the right thing,” he said.
New York Democrats are likely to give Republicans a turning point by giving Toomey a vote on his proposed amendment, which Pennsylvania Republicans and many of his colleagues say he asked for. for many months.
“The ball is in the leader’s court and I don’t know yet what he has decided to do… we have not been informed that we have scheduled an amendment vote. Hopefully that will happen on Monday,” Toomey said Monday.
The revised explanation did little to curb Democrats’ accusations that the GOP turned an uncontroversial plan to help veterans exposed to Agent Orange and poison burn pits. turned into a political football. Democrats have harshly questioned the turnout because 25 Republicans voted to block the budget bill on their second trip to the floor, not the first.
“I’m doing everything I can,” Sen said. Jon Tester (D-Mont.). “I do not know [if] people really understand what they voted for and be honest with you. There is no rebate fund in this. “
Crucially, even if Toomey gets a vote, his amendment is not expected to have enough support to eventually be included – leaving Republicans with the same veterans bill that most of them voted to block last week. And some are still saying they are not willing to repeal the law on promoting the amendment.
“If I had a chance to vote on an amendment, I could vote for the amendment, but I want to make sure that the bill is not repealed,” Sen said. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who added that he generally agrees with Toomey’s concerns. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) also said he broadly supports the amendment.
However, Toomey managed to rally his colleagues to support the veterans bill in private conference meetings; Republicans claim that Democrats promised a revised vote on his concerns in June, only to protest.
Those disputes remained largely in the spotlight until last week, when the bill collapsed. Veterans’ advocacy groups flew to Washington in anticipation of the final passing anniversary – instead, it turned into a press conference against the GOP senators who organized it.
“As someone who has worked on this bill for many years, I am just disappointed that some of my Republican colleagues, whether for personal gain or with some misguided political motive… want to. bust. But as long as the right results are achieved, that’s important for the country and for the veterans,” Sen said. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).
Criticism has yet to subside this week.
Comedian Jon Stewart – rallied with veterans who had camped outside the Senate for days – on Monday criticized Republicans for slowing the passage of the bill.
“I’m not afraid of you and I don’t care, because these are the people I am indebted to,” Stewart said. “Don’t leave here tonight until you do the right thing by these people. It’s as simple as that: Don’t make this harder than it is.”
Katherine Tully-McManus contributed to this report.