Earlier this month, it was revealed that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has placed a hold on a major veterans benefits bill because he wants to use unspent stimulus dollars to fund it. Today, Democratic senators who are advocates of the bill will hold a press conference to highlight Coburn’s obstructionism and call on him to lift his hold:
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. [...]
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.”
Unfortunately, using holds to obstruct progress is nothing new for “Dr. No.” He has previously used holds on legislation such as an HIV/AIDS prevention bill and a public lands bill. VoteVets.org, a leading veterans advocacy group, has put together an online petition to call on Coburn to lift his hold.