Reichert Statement on War Supplemental Votes
Also: Video of Reichert statement on his amendment to force Iraqis to pay for their reconstruction
Congress voted today on three separate measures directed at troop funding, war policy restrictions and domestic spending priorities. Congressman Dave Reichert (WA-08) once again supported critical funds for our men and women in uniform while opposing a domestic spending amendment that played politics with veterans' benefits. Reichert commented on the domestic spending measure:
"Only in Washington, D.C. can we take war funding votes that are not on a real bill and are not actually intended to become law. In this city we take political statement votes that result in more partisan fighting instead of solutions. It is shameful.
"Today's vote on important national programs was yet another example of Congress playing political games at the expense of our veterans and our health care safety net. I am an original cosponsor of the new GI Bill, just as I have voted time and again to protect our health care providers from devastating funding cuts; but the way to pay for these important measures is by reducing spending, not by raising taxes during an economic downturn. You get the feeling in this city that every time we face a problem the answer is to solve it by having Americans pay more of their hard-earned money rather than someone showing some leadership.
"In the past week alone, the House gave away $38 billion in hand-outs to multi-millionaire farmers, and to speculators who contributed to our housing crisis. These funds would be far better spent supporting the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our nation and those who bring needed care to the underserved.
Reichert also condemned Congress for playing politics with veterans' benefits. "This same vote was crafted to intensify partisan attacks and to further divide the House at a time when our nation demands real solutions. A vote on veterans should not be used as a political tool. House leaders have already heard from the Senate that this measure is dead-on-arrival', but they chose to hold this vote anyway, instead of seeking bipartisan ways to enact a broadly-supported and much-needed education benefit for our veterans. They should be ashamed of themselves. I have a message for all of our veterans back home: I will keep working to get you the benefits you deserve and cut through the politics here in Washington, DC."
Prior to consideration of the three separate measures, Reichert offered an amendment that would begin a draw-down of American taxpayer dollars going into Iraq for reconstruction in a responsible way. His measure would require the Iraqi government to take responsibility and bear the cost for the reconstruction of their country, not the American taxpayer. It limits U.S. funding in Iraq to the form of a loan, while encouraging the Iraqis to spend their billions of dollars in surplus oil revenue on their own economic development and reconstruction efforts.