With minutes ticking by before the U.S. Senate adjourns for the year this evening, veterans’ advocates are engaged in a last-ditch effort to convince Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) to release his hold on vital legislation that would address the epidemic of veteran suicide. The Clay Hunt SAV Act, passed unanimously by the House, has been languishing in the Senate for days due to the Senator’s hold, and when the chamber adjourns tonight, it will be dead.
This afternoon, Veterans’ Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald reenergized supporters by throwing his weight behind the legislation. In a statement issued to the media, Sec. McDonald stated:
Senator Coburn has justified his hold by stating that VA opposes the legislation. The Secretary’s comments now undercut that argument. Additional reasoning put forward by the Senator to justify his hold has been previously debunked by IAVA here.
With more than 22 veterans a day still dying from suicide year after year, it is clear that VA and the rest of the VSO community need additional resources and programs to reverse this trend. We implore Senator Coburn to lift his hold on this bill and stand by America’s veterans and their families.