U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) today asked for unanimous consent to pass his bill authorizing veterans affairs (VA) clinics in Lafayette and Lake Charles, Louisiana on the U.S. Senate floor. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has repeatedly blocked Vitter's bill, continued his objection today.
"This bill has near unanimous support. It would immediately advance 27 community-based healthcare clinics for hundreds of thousands of veterans around the country. Two of these clinics are in Louisiana -- in Lafayette and Lake Charles -- and all 27 have hit bureaucratic glitches that are preventing them from being completed," Vitter said. "The American people want us to work together and move forward on the things we agree on, and this bill is something we can agree on."
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.