WASHINGTON -- The second bill signed into law of the 114th Congress aims to boost the Department of Veterans Affairs' treatment of mental health, with the hopes of bringing down the number of veterans suicides.
President Barack Obama held a White House ceremony Thursday to sign the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act. If you squint hard at the above photo, in the back row above Obama's right shoulder is a sliver of Georgia Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, who helped push the bill through this year.
Isakson swiftly moved the measure during his first hearing running the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, and it passed unanimously on both sides of the Capitol. Said Obama:
"That’s just a reminder of what we can accomplish when we take a break from the partisan bickering that so often dominates this town, and focus on what really matters to the American people."
Pool reporter Steven Dennis of Roll Call noted that it is unusual to see so many lawmakers -- particularly Republicans -- at the White House.
In an interview after the bill signing, Isakson said he hopes for more such moments:
"All of us, everybody left their guns and their whips and their chains at the door and then sat around the table and worked out the difficulties. ... It was nice to see people come together for the right reasons and do the right thing and prove the Congress is functional and can still do that. And I hope there will be more cases of that."
And besides, Isakson was not nearly close enough to Obama to make for a good attack ad.
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