U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) today again asked for unanimous consent to pass his compromise amendment authorizing twenty seven veterans affairs (VA) clinics across the country, including clinics in Lafayette and Lake Charles, Louisiana on the U.S. Senate floor. Vitter has been pushing for unanimous consent for his legislation for over two months. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has repeatedly blocked Vitter's bill, continued his objection today.
"Right now, these twenty-seven community-based clinics are being held up by pure politics. There is not a single objection on the merit of this proposal. Our hold-up is that Senator Sanders wants to play by his own rules," Vitter said. "This proposal won't solve every problem in the VA, but it will do something substantial, so I'm asking to do just that."
Vitter also used a quote on the floor that Sanders said last year about moving legislation forward where there is agreement. Sanders has said he agrees with Vitter's legislation but continues to object. On November 19, 2013, Sanders said, "I'm happy to tell you that I think that was concern of his, we got that UCed last night. So we moved that pretty quickly, and I want to try to do those things, where we agreement, let's move it."
Vitter had secured language authorizing both clinics in two pieces of comprehensive veterans' legislation pending in the U.S. Senate, one sponsored by Sanders and another sponsored by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.). The Sanders bill failed because it did not pass budget requirements. Vitter's standalone legislation addressed fiscal concerns by requiring the VA and U.S. Department of Defense to pool together to purchase prescription drugs. Recent reports estimate that this would save approximately $4.3 billion dollars.