Tags: Tom Coburn | Harry Reid | VA

Sen. Tom Coburn Bids Farewell with Final Shot at Harry Reid

Image: Sen. Tom Coburn Bids Farewell with Final Shot at Harry Reid
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By    |   Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 11:10 AM

Oklahoma GOP Sen. Tom Coburn on Tuesday completed a tenure in Congress that spanned two decades with a final fight against a veterans bill that drew the ire of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

According to The Washington Times, Coburn angered Reid after he moved to block the Clay Hunt Veteran Suicide bill, a bill that would fund a study for the Department of Veterans Affairs about suicide prevention and also provide tuition assistance for psychiatrists who agree to serve at VA hospitals.

Coburn was against it because he said the agency already had the powers to enact such policies and he also felt the $22 million price tag was too high.

Reid suggested Coburn would have blood on his hands for refusing to let the bipartisan bill to get passed, and said he was personally affected by the issue given his father committed suicide, the Times reported.

"Here we have a bill that people want to pass, and I understand the pain and why you'd want to honor a soldier that took his own life," Coburn said, according to the Times. "But we're going to spend more money and not hold the VA accountable?  I can't do that."

Coburn has delivered his own criticism of Reid, saying he divides his years on Capitol Hill into two eras, "the one before Harry Reid ruined it, and the one since — the last six years," when, as majority leader, Reid scaled back on the ability of senators to offer amendments and force debate on big issues.

Coburn has been known in the Senate for his crusade against wasteful spending, and as a champion of individualism in lawmaking.

"The magic number in the Senate is not 60, the number of senators needed to end debate, and it is not 51, a majority. The most important number in the Senate is one — one senator," he said during his farewell speech last week, according to the Times.

"The Senate has a set of rules that gives each individual member the power needed to advance, change or stop legislation."

Following his remarks, he was lauded by colleagues for his service and principles.

"Tom exhibits the conviction that I wish I had more of. Tom exhibits the commitment I wish I had more of, and he exhibits the courage I wish I had more of," Indiana Republican Sen. Dan Coats said, according to the Times.

"I feel like God has given a gift to the Senate, and certainly a gift to me, by simply saying take a look at Tom Coburn."

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Oklahoma GOP Sen. Tom Coburn on Tuesday completed a tenure in Congress that spanned two decades with a final fight against a veterans bill that drew the ire of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Tom Coburn, Harry Reid, VA
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2014-10-18
Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 11:10 AM
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