Senator Ron Johnson defends his "No" vote on VA bill

Published 06/12 2014 04:28PM

Updated 06/13 2014 10:24AM

Green Bay, Wis.(WFRV)- In a conversation with Local 5 on Thursday, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson defended his "No" vote on a bipartisan supported bill that reforms treatment options for veterans nationwide.

The Senate passed the legislation Wednesday by a vote of 93-3. The bill aims to reduce long waiting times by increasing veterans access to private health care and allowing for more clinics and more doctors.

Johnson says it's not the specs of the bill he disagrees with, but the price tag that comes with it. One that got little-to-no discussion on the Senate floor.

'This is exhibit A as to why we are more than $17 trillion dollars in debt," says Johnson, "Obviously we all want to honor the promises to the finest among us. We want to make sure our veterans have access to quality, timely healthcare."

According to Johnson, the Congressional Budget Office issued a letter minutes before the vote that priced the legislation at $435 billion dollars in new spending over the next ten years.

"To me that was a jaw dropping revelation and piece of information we should have had certainly well in advance of this bill being put on the floor to receive a vote. I think many members had never even seen that letter."

Senator Johnson says the senate bill was rushed to the floor but should have been pulled. It will now be taken up by the House and ultimately be finalized by both the House and Senate.  

"If it spends money, we find lower priority spending to offset and I can support the final package before it goes to the President's desk."

Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin released this statement after she voted ''Yes".

“Our brave men and women in uniform make great sacrifices on our behalf. I believe we have a shared responsibility to ensure that when they return home, they have access to the care they need and the benefits they’ve earned and deserve.”

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