Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) voted on two key appropriations bills this week: he voted yes on the Military Construction/Veterans Affairs appropriations bill on Wednesday, June 5, and voted no on the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill on Thursday, June 6.
"Although not a perfect bill, I voted "yes" for the VA appropriations bill because it addresses critical needs by expanding support for veterans and ensuring that the VA addresses its massive backlog," Congressman Huffman said. "However, I could not support the misguided and cruel Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill, which doubles down on the militarization of our border at the expense of other priorities and treats DREAMers--children brought into the United States by their parents years ago, through no fault of their own--the same as violent criminals."
Passed 421-4. Huffman voted for the bill.
Huffman championed a number of provisions that were included in the final bill, including:
Full funding of $20 million for the Veterans Affairs suicide prevention and outreach programs. Huffman wrote a letter of support on April 17, 2013.
A provision requiring the Veterans Benefits Administration to report to the Committee on the progress made to eliminate the backlog at each regional office. Huffman wrote a letter of support on April 22, 2013
The bill demonstrates a clear concern for military sexual trauma (MST), with additional emphasis on access to MST services in rural areas (Congress strongly encouraged the VA to have at least one person trained to handle MST cases in every health provider location.
Bill strongly encouraged the VA to better ensure that rural veterans have access to care facilities with reduced travel times.
Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill
Passed 245-182. Huffman voted against the bill.
Among the many harmful provisions included in the bill, Huffman opposed:
The King Amendment, which would result in encouraging ICE to crack down on DREAMers and other non-criminal, undocumented immigrants--essentially treating them the same as violent criminals.
Militarizes border at enormous expense, including expansion of the drone program.
Provision of the bill that makes it more difficult to close Guantanamo Bay Detention Center by limiting the use of funds to transfer detainees and otherwise restrict detainee transfers.
Funds the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) $195.5 million below President Obama's budget request
Funds the flawed 287(g) program which delegates federal immigration law enforcement authority to state and local officers. This program has been found to have been the cause of many cases of racial profiling and improper on-the-ground implantation of our immigration policies.