Negotiations between the House and Senate on legislation to address the crisis at the Veterans Affairs Administration -- a version of which passed both houses of Congress overwhelmingly early this year -- disintegrated on Thursday, even as both sides insist they want to pass something before the August break.
This could put the veterans legislation on a growing list of problems Congress won't act to fix before they head out on vacation, including a bill to address the still-growing crisis of unaccompanied children crossing the southern border, before they leave for their month-long August recess; and a bill to keep the country's highways and bridges in working order is stalled.
The veterans bill isn't exactly controversial. Earlier this year, the House passed veterans legislation passed on a 426-0 vote. In the Senate, it passed 93-3.
"It is no great secret to the American people that the Congress today is dysfunctional and despite enormous problems we are getting virtually nothing done for the people of our nation," said Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has been leading the negotiations.
The disagreement now centers on how much money should be spent to fix widespread delays in care that led to a number of veterans dying before they could receive proper care.
But the breakdown in negotiations is personal.
Sanders became visibly angry as he detailed how his counterpart in the Republican House, Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Calif., called him at 10 p.m. the night before to announce his own version of veterans legislation and declare he wanted to vote on it the next day.
"That is not democracy. That is not negotiation," Sanders said.
First published July 24 2014, 12:04 PM
Kasie Hunt has covered politics for NBC News since January 2013. Hunt came to NBC News from The Associated Press, where she served as a national political reporter. As one of the organizationâ€™s lead campaign trail reporters, Hunt covered the Republican primary field and nominee Mitt Romney, eventually following the Romney campaign nearly full time from December 2011 through election day.
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Prior to joining the AP, Hunt covered the 2010 mid-term elections and the emerging GOP presidential primary race as a national political reporter for POLITICO. Earlier, she covered health care, education, and labor policy for National Journalâ€™s CongressDaily, where she closely followed the Affordable Care Act from inception to passage. She began her journalism career as an intern with the NBC News political unit.
Hunt has appeared regularly on numerous television programs, including MSNBCâ€™s â€œThe Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd,â€ â€œNOW with Alex Wagner,â€ and â€œHardball with Chris Matthews,â€ as well as NBCâ€™s â€œThe Chris Matthews Show.â€
Hunt is a graduate of George Washington University and holds a masterâ€™s degree in sociology from the University of Cambridge, where she was a member of St Johnâ€™s College.