(Washington, DC) -- The nation's leading
Vietnam veterans advocacy organization today denounced Senate parliamentary
tactics that are delaying the delivery of vitally needed services and
benefits to veterans.
"Anonymous legislative 'holds' on critical
veterans’ bills are mean-spirited and cruel," said Thomas H. Corey, national
president of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA). "In this holiday season, it
is really sad that senators are using disabled and homeless veterans as
hostages as they struggle with other issues. Homeless veterans are cold and
hungry, while the Senate carries on an ideological debate. This behavior is
unworthy of this Senate. In this holiday season, it is time to pass S. 1088
and S. 739 (Homeless Veterans Act)."
Corey was referring to legislative "holds"
that have been placed on S. 1088, The Veterans' Benefit Improvement Act of
2001, and S. 739. The bill was passed unanimously by the Senate Veterans
Affairs Committee over the summer. Among the measures contained in the bill
are improvements to the Montgomery GI Bill, key claims-related provisions
affecting Vietnam and Gulf War veterans, and enhancements to the VA's home
The 107th Congress has not produced many
tangible improvements for veterans programs during the first session.
Veteran's health care programs remain grossly underfunded, even as a new
generation of Americans fight the war on terrorism. Corey called for an
immediate end to the legislative gamesmanship.
"Our veterans will remember this episode
during the 2002 election cycle. They will be guided in their voting choice
by one overriding criterion: Did he or she do the right thing with regard to
the lives of their veteran constituents? We will be watching...and we will