Senate Democrats

Congressional Republicans Put Siding With President Bush Ahead of Poviding for America’s Veterans

This week, as Congress prepares to send a conference report to the President containing the Labor-HHS appropriations bill along with the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs appropriations bill to the President, Senate Republicans are threatening to try to use parliamentary tactics to delay this vital funding for veterans. It would not be the first time Congressional Republicans put their loyalty to President Bush ahead of their responsibility to care for our nation’s veterans. The Republican-controlled Congress consistently underfunded veterans’ programs, resulting in funding shortfalls, backlogs and a rise in the rate of uninsured veterans. Congressional Republicans should resist President Bush’s political games and work with Democrats to send a bill to the President that fully funds our nation’s veterans’ programs before Veterans’ Day. 

Senate Republicans may use parliamentary procedures to delay veterans funding bill:

Senate Republicans May Try to Split Veterans Spending Provision Out of Conference Report Before Sending It to the President. “A conference agreement that includes the Labor-HHS-Education (HR 3043) and the Military Construction-VA (HR 2642) bills is expected to be filed Monday, and followed soon after by votes on the House and Senate floors. Yet the package in that form may not make it to the president’s desk for an expected veto… Senate Republicans might move to split the package, something that could derail plans to send Bush the bill by week’s end.” [CQ Today, 11/2/07]

  • Senate Republicans May Try to Use New Ethics Rules Strip Out Veterans Funding from Combined Labor-HHS-Military Construction-Veterans Appropriations Bill. “Under a revision of Senate Rule 28, senators may “surgically” strike provisions of a conference report that were not in the bill passed by either chamber and send the remaining legislation back to the House. Combining the Military Construction- VA funds with the Labor-HHS-Education bill appears to violate the rule. Senate Republicans could raise a point of order on the floor to strike the Military Construction-VA section that would take 60 votes to waive. If the point of order is not waived, the bill can be passed and sent back to the House.” [CQ Today, 11/2/07]

Republican Congress consistently underfunded veterans programs:

For FY 2006, Republican Congress Underfunded Veterans Programs By $2 Billion. For FY 2006, the Republican Congress appropriated $33 billion in discretionary spending for veterans programs, while the Independent Budget called for a spending level of $35 billion, a difference of $2 billion. [Independent Budget, FY 2006; Independent Budget, FY 2007]

For FY 2005, Republican Congress Underfunded Veterans Programs By $3.1 Billion. For FY 2005, the Republican Congress appropriated $30.5 billion in discretionary spending for veterans programs, while the Independent Budget called for a spending level of $33.6 billion, a difference of $3.1 billion.  [Independent Budget, FY 2005; Independent Budget, FY 2006

For FY 2004, Republican Congress Underfunded Veterans Programs By $1.7 Billion. For FY 2004, the Republican Congress appropriated $29.3 billion in discretionary spending for veterans programs, while the Independent Budget called for a spending level of $31 billion, a difference of $1.7 billion. [Independent Budget, FY 2004; Independent Budget, FY 2005

For FY 2003, Republican Congress Underfunded Veterans Programs By $1.5 Billion. For FY 2003, the Republican Congress appropriated $26.3 billion in discretionary spending on veterans programs, while the Independent Budget called for a spending level of $27.8 billion, a difference of $1.5 billion. [Independent Budget, FY 2004; Independent Budget, FY 2003]

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