What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Protecting Rights of Congressional Minorities : H. Res. 298. Appropriations/Veterans/Procedural Vote on Governing Rule for Bill Making Appropriations (Funding) for Military and Veterans' Health Care and for Military Construction and Base Closure. (2005 house Roll Call 223)
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H. Res. 298. Appropriations/Veterans/Procedural Vote on Governing Rule for Bill Making Appropriations (Funding) for Military and Veterans' Health Care and for Military Construction and Base Closure.
house Roll Call 223     May 26, 2005
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

In this vote, the House ordered the previous question for the governing rule for H.R. 2528, a bill to make appropriations (fund) for military and veterans' health care and for military construction and base closure for fiscal year 2006 (FY06). (A rule sets forth what amendments House members may offer, how much time each side will be permitted to speak, how long the debate can last, etc. A vote on the rule usually reflects existing support and opposition for the underlying legislation and/or loyalty to one's party.) Progressives objected to the rule in part because the rule would not permit them to offer on the floor of the House during debate an amendment that they deemed important. That amendment would have proposed a tax increase for individuals making more than $1 million per year in order to pay for increased health care benefits for veterans. For the most part, however, representatives focused their debate on the substance of the bill, which would appropriate $121.8 billion to cover "quality of life" costs for members of the military and veterans and to cover costs of military construction and base realignment and closures. Democrats, including Progressives, argued that the bill provided insufficient funds to meet the needs of veterans, especially those returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Republicans, however, noted that for the first time, Congress was providing "a dedicated pool of resources" for veterans' health programs. (Phil Gingrey (R-GA).) Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) suggested that Democrats supporting additional increases for veterans' health care were disingenuous, stating, "some of the Members on the other side come from the liberal left. They do not support the military. They vote against defense bills. . . . Since we [the Republicans] took the majority over the last few years, we have increased health care over 60 percent. . . ." Cunningham went on to assert that members of the Reserve and Guard have health insurance from other sources: "Another thing last night where they [Democrats] said, well, the Republicans did not vote to take care of our National Guard, they sign a contract, Mr. Speaker. When one goes into the National Guard or Reserve, they are a citizen soldier. They sign up and they are working in a business and they get your health care through the business or they sign up with private insurance. . . . I am military retired, and I have health care, and so do our veterans in an increasing manner." The House defeated Progressives and ordered the previous question on a straight party-line vote of 223 to 194. Thus, the House proceeded to pass the rule and enter into substantive debate about the military and veterans' health care bill, though Democrats were not permitted to offer their amendment to tax the wealthy on behalf of veterans.

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