Appropriations Committee Democrats Pile Billions of Worthless Pork onto the Backs of Our Troops & Veterans |
House Democrats on the Appropriations Committee today piled billions in worthless pork onto the backs of our veterans and our troops by combining the pork-laden Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill with the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill that funds critical benefits for American veterans and troops. Republicans are strongly opposed to the move. House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) said such a cynical strategy will fail:

“I think all of you know that the majority wants to use now the veterans’ military quality of life bill to match up with a pork-laden labor-HHS bill and try to bring this to the floor in order to -- more, really to play more political games. The President’s made clear he would veto such a bill. And I’ve got to tell you that this is one of the most cynical things I've seen Congress do since I’ve been here -- and I’ve been here 17 years, and that’s saying something. To try to pass this porked-up labor-HHS bill on the backs of our troops and our veterans is the wrong thing to do. The President’s said he will veto it. Why we’re continuing to play these political games is beyond me.” (AUDIO)

Almost a month ago, House Republican leaders sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) urging her to appoint conferees to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill. Democratic leaders have not only delayed the bill, but have gone so far as to vote against six Republican proposals (on October 23, 24, 25, 30, 31, and today, November 1) to complete work on the measure.

House Democratic leaders have already stalled completion of the veterans and troops funding bill for 139 days even though this bill has received overwhelming bipartisan support every year. Yet they are once again pursuing a partisan strategy in an attempt to pass pork-barrel spending at the expense of our troops and veterans, just as they did last spring in the fight over the supplemental spending bill. Some examples of unnecessary projects funded through the Labor-HHS-Education bills Democratic leaders pushing to attach to bills funding troops and veterans:

· The Labor-HHS bill includes $250,000 in taxpayer funding requested by Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) for O’Neill Sea Odyssey, an “educational” program conducted “on board a 65-foot catamaran sailing Monterey Bay.”

· $100,000 requested by Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) for “development of a Portuguese and Lusophone Studies Program” at Rhode Island College.

· $250,000 requested by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) – who last year told the Wall Street Journal she would consider eliminating all earmarks if elected Speaker – for a project known as the “Exploratorium” in San Francisco, CA.

The President has already said he will veto the bill, so for Democrats to continue on this course is little more than a calculated political strategy that is doomed to failure. President Bush made the following remarks today at the Heritage Foundation:

“There are reports that congressional leaders may be considering combining the funding bills for our military and our veterans together with a bloated labor, health and education spending bill. It’s hard to imagine a more cynical ploy than holding funding for our troops and our wounded warriors hostage in order to extract $11 billion in wasteful Washington spending. I ask Congress to send me a clean veterans funding bill by Veterans Day and to pass a clean defense spending bill. Congress needs to put the needs of those who put on the uniform ahead of their desire to spend more money.”

House Republicans will continue to fight for a clean bill to support our veterans and our troops to ensure they receive critical benefits like housing and health care they need. Are rank-and-file Democrats prepared to join them?