This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) that would increase funding by $3.6 million for a research program (known as the Gulf War Illness Research program) on illnesses affecting soldiers who served in the first Gulf War in 1991. This amendment was offered to legislation providing annual funding for Defense Department programs.
Kucinich urged support for his amendment: “Too many veterans of the first gulf war suffer from persistent symptoms, such as chronic headache, widespread pain, cognitive difficulties, unexplained fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, respiratory symptoms, and other abnormalities that are not explained by traditional medical or psychiatric diagnoses. Research shows that, as these brave soldiers age, they are at double the risk for ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, as are their non-deployed peers. There may also be connections to multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease. Sadly, there are no known treatments for the lifelong pain these veterans endure.”
Rep. Bill Young (R-FL) opposed Kucinich’s amendment: “I believe that the Gulf War Illness Program is an important medical research area, the program to which Mr. Kucinich speaks; but this bill already contains $6.4 million for the program. In addition, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations [spending] bill has already included an additional $15 million for the program….in the days of having to reduce our budget by $9 billion, we believe that we have already adequately funded this program at $6.4 million…Therefore, I rise in opposition to this amendment.
The House agreed to this amendment by a vote of 253-167. Voting “yea” were 182 Democrats and 71 Republicans. 163 Republicans and 4 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House agreed to an amendment that would increase funding by $3.6 million for a research program on illnesses affecting soldiers who served in the first Gulf War in 1991. In order for this amendment to become law, however, it would have to pass the Senate.