Reps. Xavier Becerra of California and Joseph Crowley of New York, the chairman and vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus respectively, told reporters they would not be complicit in passing the fiscal 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill this week that Republicant Congressmen Paul Cook and Steve Knight voted for — a bill they contend would ultimately decimate veterans services, according to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald, who addressed the House Democratic Caucus at its weekly closed-door meeting.
Veteran Affairs Secretary McDonald stated: ‘Please don’t let this funding bill
become law [as] up to 70,000 veterans would lose services if the pending bill became
“Virtually, if not every, veteran services organization opposes the
cuts in the MilCon-VA bill,” added Crowley, who characterized the bill’s
handling of the Veterans Affairs department as “privatizing” the
agency, something he called “a farce.”
While this bill may provide $4.6 billion more in funding for these
projects than last year, it undercuts the President’s request by over $1
billion — our service members deserve more.
The bill provides a
total of $7.7 billion for military construction projects (not health care!!)– This includes funds
for large and small construction and renovation projects on military
bases within the U.S. and around the globe (. Of the amount provided for
Military Construction projects, $532 million is provided for Overseas
Contingency Operations (OCO). This bill funds a program that builds infrastructure to support
NATO operations--say what??
Veterans Affairs is typically the least controversial spending bill,
with lawmakers in both parties usually reluctant to cast a vote that
could be portrayed as anti-veteran. Obama declined to issue a veto
threat on the MilCon-VA proposal on the House floor last year, though
the White House Statement of Administrative Policy took issue with
Obama’s has stated his intention to veto this time around..and so should we encourage him!!
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