Democratic Senators Urge Coburn to Lift Hold on Veterans’ Bill

Posted November 9, 2009 at 10:21am

Democratic Senators are calling on Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) to lift his hold on a veterans’ health bill that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) hopes to clear before the chamber adjourns this week for a three-day recess.

Sens. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) will hold a press conference Monday to rally support for the measure, which Coburn is blocking because “He holds every bill that spends new money and isn’t offset,— spokesman John Hart said.

In a floor statement Friday, Begich called on Coburn to lift his hold. Other Democratic Senators made similar appeals, but Begich took the rare step of naming Coburn on the Senate floor.

“I am disappointed that my Senate colleague does not feel this same sense of duty and responsibility to our nation’s heroes, who have sacrificed so much for our very right to stand in this body and debate this matter,— Begich said. “There is no good reason or rationale for a hold to be placed on this legislation and I call on my colleague to remove his hold.—

The Senate is currently considering a $134 billion military spending measure that funds construction projects and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Reid hopes this week to clear that bill as well as the nomination of Andre Davis, tapped for the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.