Citing an “epidemic level” of veteran suicides, an urgent legislative response moved swiftly through Congress last week. But then it hit a wall.
The Government Accountability Office recently found that the Department of Veteran Affairs’ crisis line failed to respond in a timely manner to between 20 and 30 percent of veterans who called or texted in need of counseling and support. Rep. David Young, a freshman congressman from Iowa, unanimously passed a reform bill, the No Veterans Crisis Line Call Should Go Unanswered Act, through the House of Representatives on Monday. By Wednesday, its companion bill had found similar support in the Senate—only to come up against outgoing Minority Leader Harry Reid’s rabid partisanship.
Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted his disapproval of blatant partisanship on the part of the Senate’s Democratic leadership:
— Paul Ryan (@PRyan) September 30, 2016