House Republican Leaders Demand Action on Veterans Funding Bill
Congressman John Boehner (R-West Chester) and other House Republican leaders sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) today, urging her to appoint conferees to the FY 2008 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act (H.R. 2642) and to expedite the appointment of conferees on three other appropriations bills already passed by both chambers. The House passed the veterans and military funding bill on June 15, 2007 by a vote of 409-2, with the Senate following suit and naming conferees on September 6. House Democratic leaders have blocked a conference on the measure by refusing to name conferees. Boehner issued the following statement on the Democrats' inaction:
"If Democratic leaders have a reason for refusing to conference this critical bipartisan legislation immediately, I assure you it is not a good one. In fact, I am concerned the Democrats' refusal to name conferees on a bill passed so overwhelmingly by the House and Senate is part of a calculated effort to attach billions and billions in new, pork spending on an omnibus appropriations bill that uses the veterans and military funding measure as the vehicle. The health and housing of our veterans and troops must be a top priority for both parties, and their needs should not fall victim to Beltway politics. Simply put: our veterans and troops don't deserve to be used as pawns in a political game.
"Since assuming the Majority, Democrats have not been bashful about playing politics with American troops as a cover for more wasteful spending. Let's not forget that they held up the troop funding bill for 108 days earlier this year and only caved to Republicans after adding billions in pork and unrelated spending to the measure. In other words, we've been down this road before. And if Democrats continue to block funding for our troops and veterans, Republicans are prepared to fight the same fight once again - and win."
NOTE: The Capitol Hill publication CQ Today reported last week that veterans' organizations are pressuring Democratic leaders to quickly pass the veterans' and military construction spending bill and not use it as a vehicle for an omnibus appropriations bill.
Boehner represents Ohio's 8th District, which includes all of Darke, Miami and Preble counties, most of Butler and Mercer counties, and the northeastern corner of Montgomery County. He was first elected to Congress in 1990.