WASHINGTON (April 19, 2017) — Donald Trump staged a very public signing ceremony at the White House on Wednesday morning to take credit for signing into law an extension of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, aka the Veterans CHOICE Program, which is set to expire later this year.
The bills’ original author? Senator Bernie Sanders.
Trump of course made no mention of Sanders, or even the current bill’s sponsor, Democratic Senator Jon Tester (MT).
Instead, clearly reading from remarks (video below), the President said, “It’s time that we now take care of [Veterans]. That’s why I’m pleased today to sign into law the Veterans Choice Program Improvement Act,” reiterating, “so this is called, the Choice Program Improvement Act —speaks for itself.”
In reality, and importantly, the law Trump signed isn’t called the “Veterans Choice Improvement Program Act.”
Rather, the White House’s own signed legislation page, dated April 19, 2017, correctly identifies the measure by its true name, “An Act to amend the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 to modify the termination date for the Veterans Choice Program, and for other purposes,” which alone makes clear the measure does little more than extend Sanders’ 2014 bill.
— #Vets4Bernie (@vets4bernie) April 19, 2017
Yet at the daily press conference, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer touted Trump’s signing of the extension as one of the administration’s “most important moves,” according to Military Times reporter, Leo Shane III.
Asked about the most important moves of Trump's first 100 days, @PressSec highlights today's VA Choice extension signing.
— Leo Shane III (@LeoShane) April 19, 2017
Hyper patriots also rushed to trumpet his majesty’s great accomplishment.
— Makada 🇺🇸 (@_Makada_) April 19, 2017
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) April 9, 2017
“That is the President of the United States,” proclaimed FOX Business host, Stuart Varney.
“The President there is giving veterans access to private sector care. More choice for veterans,” as if it were a novel approach. “He’s done something.”
If reaffirming a not-new idea that in 2014 Bernie Sanders accomplished to push into law despite serious GOP obstructionism counts, then yes, he’s done something.