While the House was debating a bill this afternoon to provide funds for veterans’ benefits, including disability payments, the GI Bill and VA home loans, the Senate was getting packed up and ready to head home, having adjourned for the day. That means the government shutdown will continue for at least a second day, but it also means the Senate will likely find a clean continuing resolution on its desk tomorrow morning that protects funding for veterans’ benefits. That should be an easy vote, right?
Maybe not. Rep. Nancy Pelosi is suggesting that the Senate should reject anything less than a continuing resolution that funds the entire government. Pelosi says anything less is “using” veterans as a bargaining chip; Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) says the idea that the Senate could vote it down is “sick.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had warned that the Senate would not “cherry-pick a few parts of the government to keep open,” and President Obama has vowed to veto anything less than a full continuing resolution.
That depends on just how red this particular red line is, but it appears likely the Democrats would vote down a resolution that funds only veterans’ benefits.
Hold on a minute: if it’s all or nothing, why was the president photographed last night signing a bill that would ensure members of the armed services continue to receive paychecks throughout the shutdown?
Despite Reid’s warning about cherry-picking, it looks like that is exactly what the GOP intends to do, first with military pay, then with veterans’ benefits, and then with the Smithsonian and national parks. Did we forget to mention Obamacare funding?
Of course, Pelosi and the Democrats just won’t let go of the “taking the country hostage” metaphor.
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Update: It looks like that bill won’t be on the Senate’s desk tomorrow morning after all.