WASHINGTON (AP) – Veterans groups are criticizing Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn for blocking a bill intended to reduce a suicide epidemic that claims the lives of 22 military veterans every day.
Coburn defended his actions late Monday, saying the bill would not accomplish its stated goal and duplicates programs that already exist.
The Republican senator said that instead of passing the $22 million bill, lawmakers should hold the Department of Veterans Affairs accountable for frequently failing to serve veterans.
Paul Rieckhoff, CEO and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, an advocacy group, said Coburn was single-handedly blocking a bill that could save the lives of thousands of veterans. Rieckhoff said Coburn’s action “is why people hate Washington.”
The House unanimously approved the bill last week.
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