Boehner: Majority Puts Politics Ahead of Funding for Troops, Veterans
Noting that Democratic leadership in the U.S. House has reportedly decided to stall a key veterans and troops funding bill further, Congressman John Boehner (R-West Chester) today echoed remarks by President Bush and renewed his call for House leaders to appoint conferees and complete work on the FY 2008 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act (H.R. 2642).
Last week, Boehner announced Republican conferees on the bill, underscoring their commitment to funding key programs for veterans and troops - without adding in billions in pork spending and without attaching the measure to another, unrelated appropriations bill. However, according to a story in today's Roll Call, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have made a political calculation not to send the veterans and troops bill to President Bush - and instead will send him the more controversial Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and related agencies spending bill. This follows a recent report in CQ Today that Democrats are planning to use the veterans and troops bill as a vehicle for unrelated pork spending.
Boehner issued the following statement:
"Health care, housing, and other benefits for our veterans and troops should never fall victim to crass partisan politics and should never be used as a way to disguise billions in wasteful pork. But by crafting a blatantly political strategy on what spending bills to send to the President and when, the Majority is placing their own political interests before our men and women in uniform.
"There is no reason Congress should not send the veterans and troops measure to President Bush immediately, and House Republicans stand ready to finish our work. It has been more than four months - now 129 days - since the House passed this bill and more than six weeks since the Senate did the same. Every day that the Majority leadership blocks our work on this bill is another day that they place a higher priority on politics than on benefits for our troops and veterans.
"Our veterans and troops have risked their lives to defend our freedom and ensure our security. To have them caught in the middle of Washington political gamesmanship underscores just how misplaced the priorities of this congressional majority really are. It's time for them to join Republicans in finishing our work on this critical legislation."
NOTE: Today, President Bush called on Congress to complete work on the veterans and troops appropriations bill. The House passed the measure on June 15, 2007 by a vote of 409-2, with the Senate following suit and naming conferees on September 6. Nearly three weeks ago, Boehner and other House Republican leaders sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), urging her to appoint conferees to the veterans and troops measure. To date, she has not done so, blocking a House-Senate conference on the measure.
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.