The liberal attack group's ad misleadingly cites a procedural vote called a "Motion to Recommit with Instructions." On the bill in question, H.R. 5854, Denny Rehberg in fact joined a 407-member, bi-partisan House majority in passing the FY 2013 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill, which provides an overall increase of $2.2 billion over the FY 2012 bill, incuding fully funding prosthetic research.
Ironically, Senator Jon Tester's liberal allies are attacking Denny Rehberg for supporting the same level of funding for military Medical and prosthetic research-- $582,674,000-- that Tester recently voted to approve in the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee. (S.Rept.112-168, Approved Unanimously By Senate Committee on Appropriations by a vote of 30-0 on 5/22/12, Library of Congress, www.Thomas.gov, Accessed 6/26/12; U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations,www.Appropriations.Senate.gov, Accessed 6/26/12)
Under the House-passed bill:
* The amount of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) research budget devoted to medical and prosthetic research will be $582,674,000, an increase of $1,674,000 over FY 2012, and the same as President Obama's budget request.
* The amount of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) research budget devoted to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) research in 2013 will be $28.5 million, up from $21.4 million in 2011 (a roughly 33% increase).
(Library Of Congress, http://www.thomas.gov; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)
The Associated Press reports that the "House approved legislation Thursday to boost health care spending for veterans and provide more money to compensate record numbers of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans claiming service-related disabilities as they return home."
* "The Republican-controlled House approved legislation Thursday to boost health care spending for veterans and provide more money to compensate record numbers of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans claiming service-related disabilities as they return home." (Andrew Taylor, "House passes veterans funding bill," Associated Press, 5/31/12)
* "The measure also boosts spending for Veterans Administration medical services in 2014 by $2.2 billion..." (Andrew Taylor, "House passes veterans funding bill," Associated Press, 5/31/12)
* "The 407-12 vote reflected the traditional bipartisan support for veterans in Congress and efforts by Republicans to exempt veterans' programs from cuts felt by other domestic programs." (Andrew Taylor, "House passes veterans funding bill," Associated Press, 5/31/12)
Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Outlines The House-Passed Bill:
"The bill, H.R. 5854, provides $146.4 billion dollars for FY 2013, which is a 10-percent increase above last year's levels. VA funding includes $54.5 [billion] in Advanced Appropriations for medical care, a boost for medical services and increases for jobs and disability programs for veterans. House members voted to withhold funding on the DOD-VA integrated medical record project until both departments implement recommendations made by GAO earlier this year. It also provides:
- $6.2 billion for mental health services
- $5.8 billion for homeless veterans programs
- $35 million for continued research on the effects of PTSD and TBI
- $174 million for expansion of Arlington National Cemetery
- $1.1 billion for major and minor construction projects
- $1.7 billion for family and military personnel housing"
("VFW WASHINGTON WEEKLY," 6/1/12)
While there is much more work to do on this front, funding for veterans' mental health care has increased substantially in recent years with Denny's support, and Denny led efforts to provide our service members with crucial mental health screening and care.
* Denny worked with Senator Max Baucus to pass the Post-Deployment Health Assessment Act, to help identify mental health issues among our troops, including PTSD and depression. As the Billings Gazette reported, the legislation provides for "troops to undergo face-to-face mental-health screenings before deploying to war zones," as well as "a similar screening upon their return from combat, and for every six months for the following two years." (Martin Kidston, "House passes military mental-health bill," Billings Gazette, 10/8/09)
As chairman of the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Subcommittee, Denny Rehberg helped provide more than $2.5 million for prosthetic research through the National Institutes of Health. (National Institutes of Health, http://www.NIH.gov)
Denny Has A Strong Record Of Standing Up For Montana's Military Men And Women:
* The first bill Denny ever sponsored in Congress was a 3.5 percent pay raise for our troops. Denny is committed to making sure our service-men and -women are compensated fairly for their hard work and sacrifice. (Library Of Congress, http://www.thomas.gov, Accessed 6/15/12)
* Denny Rehberg introduced legislation that would stop the "Widow Tax' on surviving spouses for military retirees. (Congressman Denny Rehberg, Rehberg Moves to Halt "Widows Tax", Press Release, Accessed 6/15/2012)
* Denny stands with a majority of veterans' groups in supporting a Constitutional amendment to protect our American flag from desecration. Senator Tester does not. (Elmer Palmer, "Veterans support amendment to protect flag," Missoulian, 5/1/12)
* Denny is leading the fight to protect the veterans' memorial on Big Mountain from an out-of-state atheist group attempting to tear it down. Senator Tester has remained silent. (Tristan Scott, "Atheists sue to remove Jesus statue from Big Mountain," Missoulian, 2/9/12)
* Denny sponsored legislation to protect veterans' 2nd Amendment rights by allowing service members and their family members to register any firearm collected while serving overseas for their country. (Library Of Congress, http://www.thomas.gov, Accessed 6/15/12)
* Denny introduced the Keep America's Promises Act to right a wrong committed against 157 now-former Air Force officers officers -- each with more than 15 years of service, many of those in combat -- who were terminated short of their retirement dates without promised pension or medical benefits due to the administration's cuts to defense spending. Denny will continue to fight to make sure veterans receive the compensation and benefits they were promised and have earned. (Caroline May, "Bill to restore benefits to 157 separated Air Force officers gains steam," Daily Caller, 4/2/12)
* Denny is standing up against President Obama's budget plan to increase the cost of health care for veterans enrolled in TRICARE. Nearly 35,000 Montanans are currently enrolled in TRICARE. Denny is urging the President to rethink his budget priorities and stop looking for budget cuts among veterans who have earned their benefits. ("Rehberg asks Obama to reconsider raising health care prices for veterans in TRICARE," Great Falls Tribune, 2/22/12)
* Denny cosponsored and supported the Protect VA Healthcare Act, which would protect the VA -- on which thousands of Montana veterans depend -- from the proposed "sequestration" cuts, a problem Senator Tester helped create with his vote for the failed "Super Committee." (Library Of Congress, http://www.thomas.gov, Accessed 6/15/12)
* Denny worked hard to pass the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act (VOW Act), which improves veterans' opportunities for employment and job-training. By providing an educational benefit to veterans at community colleges and technical training institutions, the VOW Act will help create the best-qualified, most skilled veteran workforce since World War II. (Library Of Congress, http://www.thomas.gov, Accessed 6/15/12)
* Denny supports the creation of a fifth Vet Center in Helena, so the brave military men and women of Montana's state capital can have the access they deserve to veterans' services.