"I am certainly understanding of the fact that some veterans could be debilitated to the point that such cataloguing is necessary, but we should ensure this process does not entangle the vast majority of our combat veterans who simply seek to readjust to normal life at the conclusion of their tours. I am troubled by the prospect of veterans refusing necessary treatment and the benefits they are entitled to. As I'm sure you would agree we cannot allow any stigma to be associated with mental healthcare or treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury," Coburn wrote to acting Veterans Secretary Gordon Mansfield.
The group of victims family members have said they may request a meeting with Coburn but Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said that in private negotiations, the Oklahoma Republican has been intractable.
And Coburn insists that the measure be debated on the Senate floor.
The Democrats who run Congress, however, are behind in their work on must-pass appropriations bills and floor time is at a premium. Schumer said he is lobbying hard with Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to allocate some of that precious time for this bill.
"Floor time is a precious commodity," Schumer said. "But life is more precious."
The House of Representatives passed its own version of the bill June 13 by voice vote.
The family members who spoke on Capitol Hill Tuesday said Americans should realize the Virginia Tech tragedy could happen anywhere.
"They were not in the wrong place at the wrong time," Reid said. "They were in the right place, and there was no need for this."
"I have a second daughter who is at Virginia Tech. And that scares me," said Holly Adams, whose daughter, Leslie Sherman, was killed in her French class.
"But I know she is at anywhere campus in anywhere USA. This could happen anywhere."