In this country, more that 22 Veterans commit suicide every single day. One of those vets who was diagnosed with PTSD was named Clay Hunt. He was only 28 years old when he killed himself in 2011. So in an attempt to help other suicidal veterans, Clay Hunt’s parents decided to push for legislation this year. The new bill is called the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for Veterans bill and it would provide more resources for suicide prevention programs.
The bill actually passed in the House of Representatives this week with a bipartisan vote. But when it got to the Senate it was quickly blocked. The ironic thing is that the bill actually had overwhelming bipartisan support, but in the Senate it takes only one Senator to block legislation. The sole blocker of this new bill was Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma. Coburn takes great pride in being known as “Dr. No.” And this time his NO was to block the suicide prevention for vets bill. According to Coburn, the bill is too expensive.
Now just to put things in a little perspective here, the Republicans have no trouble spending Billions of dollars every year on national defense, but somehow a bill that would actually help our military men and women once they return from war is apparently not worth the $22 Million price tag.
On Friday night, Rachel Maddow had the parents of Clay Hunt on her show to discuss the bill and to plead with Senator Coburn to reconsider and agree to pass this much needed legislation.
Clay Hunt’s mother, Susan Selke, told Maddow,
“From what we understand his objection is the cost. The cost is $22 Million. In the scope of the federal budget, it is just so small. There is no way you can put a price on the lives of these young men and women who serve in our military. So it is baffling, the thinking that is going behind this.”
Honestly, this one is almost beyond comprehension for me. I mean, Republicans, who claim to be the fiscally responsible party, were just fine with spending $81 Million on two psychologists to design and run the TORTURE program….and they were happy to shut down the government last year in a temper tantrum that cost us $24 BILLION….but the new Veteran Suicide Prevention bill which would cost $22 Million….well that one, is just too expensive.
You know, because GOP priorities and such….