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Times Union - Ted Yoho: U.S. House Vote Was for Benefit of Veterans and our Military

Op-Ed

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By Representative Yoho

Recently, the House of Representatives voted to approve a continuing resolution that will continue to fund our government through September.

On behalf of the 122,000 veterans in our district, I voted for it.

Because of President Barack Obama's sequester, which has been called a mindless piece of legislation by former Sens. Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, this continuing resolution was timely--especailly for members of our military.

For folks who may not understand what continuing resolutions do, they keep the government from shutting down. Since the Senate has not produced a budget in about four years, the House has been forced to use continuing resolutions to keep the government--and our military--operational.

This is not the proper budgeting process, and I'm working hard with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get us back to that.

Obama's sequester means a cut of about $42 billion to defense spending. Of course, this is one of the biggest reasons the sequester was a bad idea. We can and must make significant spending cuts, but not cuts that could put our veterans and our military readiness at risk. With the turmoil in the Middle East and the threat of nuclear weapons in North Korea, we must stay prepared.

Knowing that the coming sequester would mean cuts to the military, my first question was the same as many of the constituents who contacted my office: "What does this mean for Florida's veterans?"

The continuing resolution this week answered that question. It moved funds to accounts that can continue to pay salaries to active duty servicemen and benefits to our veterans, protecting them from cuts resulting from sequestration. The continuing resolution also funds TRICARE without new enrollment fees. For veterans who have already given us so much, we must make sure they get the care they need.

In addition to protecting our veterans, the continuing resolution passed by the House prohibits the sale of F-22s to foreign governments. This bill also does not allow funding for the transfer of Guantanamo inmates to the United States.

The very nature of spending bills in a government as big as ours means that some programs will be funded that not everyone likes. I certainly had some objections, as I know anyone who reads the bill will. In this case, I could not allow those programs to hold our veterans and national security hostage.

The resolution managed to protect our veterans and our national security from harmful cuts while still coming in at $63 billion lower than the last spending measure. I hope this shows people that spending cuts are not dangerous, but essential.

Cuts can be achieved in a way that is best not for one party, but all Americans.

Federal spending is still too high, but this continuing resolution was a step in the right direction in getting us back to budget basics.

Rep. Ted Yoho (FL-03) is serving his first term in Congress. A licensed large-animal veterinarian, Congressman Yoho lives in Gainesville.


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