Divisive Senate politics on Thursday stalled funding for troops and veterans, and threw the defense budget into uncertainty for the second year in a row.
Democrats continued their filibuster of spending bills for defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs after Republicans tweaked unrelated language on Planned Parenthood and Confederate flag displays — moves certain to raise the ire of lawmakers on the left.
The impasse underscores the partisan rancor in Congress and means lawmakers are unlikely to pass a defense and VA budget in time for the start of the new fiscal year in October. Instead, they will leave Washington for a seven-week summer recess and be faced with passing a last-minute, stop-gap budget measure when they return.
Each side blamed the other for playing political games. Republican senators used the impasse to hammer Democrats with claims of abandoning and endangering deployed servicemembers.
“You don’t care about their safety, minority leader, while they selflessly serve for ours,” Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, told the top Democrat in the Senate, Harry Reid. “You don’t care that their families are counting on them to come home safely.”
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the majority leader, said the Democrats will be faced with answering questions during the long summer recess — and presidential election campaign — about filibustering the budget bills and $1.1 billion in attached funding to fight the Zika virus. The disease has been linked to severe birth defects and is spreading in the United States.
Read more at Military.com
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