In a longtime battle, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) has sent a letter to President Obama’s Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, asking McDonough to get Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to stop blocking legislation that would authorize 27 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC), including clinics in Lafayette and Lake Charles La.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Louisiana Senate aisle, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) has signed off on a letter led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell demanding that the Washington Redskins change their name, calling the teams’ name a “racial slur.”
For over two months, Vitter has been pushing his legislation that would give the go-ahead to authorize the 27 VA clinics, however Sanders has been the only Senator objecting the Louisiana conservative’s bill.
“With the recent travesty surrounding the VA, it’s more important than ever to approve these outpatient clinics,” Vitter said. “The Obama administration must lead. The VA must lead. And Senator Sanders needs to quit playing politics with veterans’ healthcare.”
Though mostly quiet now, Landrieu in the past has been vocal about the need for the VA clinics, specifically those in Lake Charles and Lafayette to be authorized, writing an opinion piece with Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) back in 2013 for POLITICO.
In that piece, Landrieu writes that the potential Louisiana VA clinics are vital to state veterans, saying “Louisiana veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and other serious service connected disabilities must travel hundreds of miles for care. Many lack the ability to drive alone and face financial hardships that prevent them from taking time off work. The promised Lake Charles clinic would give them reliable access to primary care, along with services including mental health, prosthetics, orthopedics, physical therapy, oncology, and cardiology.”
At the time, Landrieu and Boustany said they wrote letters to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi asking that they step in to break up the bureaucratic “logjam.”
But these days, Landrieu is focusing her attention on the politically correct issue of the Washington Redskins’ name, which liberals have called racist for years. In the letter, Landrieu and other Senators say that the name must be changed because it is racist and has the potential to change cultural views.
“From Jesse Owens to Jackie Robinson to Billie Jean King, athletes have often been a driving force for equality and diversity in our nation,” the letter says. “Now is the time for the NFL to act. The Washington, D.C., football team is on the wrong side of history. What message does it send to punish slurs against African Americans while endorsing slurs against Native Americans?”
But, NFL Redskins owner Dan Snyder has previously said that we will not change the name, citing that he wants to preserve the “rich tradition” of the Redskins.
Landrieu was even sent a letter by the Veterans Action Coalition of Southwest Louisiana, asking her to jump on-board with Vitter and demand that Sanders step aside and stop blocking the authorization of the Louisiana VA clinics.
“We urge you to stand up with Senator Vitter and demand that Sanders objection be dropped immediately, so this legislation can pass the Senate,” writes Co-Chairmans Tom Grote and Skip Palminter.
“Mary, we know you support our veterans, please don’t let us down in this four plus year struggle.”
Landrieu has not been vocal either on the VA scandal, unlike Vitter. The scandal has exposed VA clinics across the country which have been accused of keeping “secret lists” and being responsible for some 40 deaths of veterans due to long wait-times at the clinics. Most recently, it came to light that the Obama administration was made aware of the issue back in 2008 right after Obama won the presidential election.