What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : Veterans : HR 2642. (Fiscal 2008 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations) Motion to kill an amendment that would allow the VA to transfer, sell or lease property owned by a veterans hospital in Los Angeles/On the motion (2007 senate Roll Call 312)
 Who: All Members
[POW!]
 

To find out how your Members of Congress voted on this bill, use the form on the right.

HR 2642. (Fiscal 2008 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations) Motion to kill an amendment that would allow the VA to transfer, sell or lease property owned by a veterans hospital in Los Angeles/On the motion
senate Roll Call 312     Sep 05, 2007
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote was on whether to kill an amendment by Jim DeMint, R-S.C., that would delete a member’s pet project (known as an “earmark”) from the bill that funds military construction and veterans programs in fiscal 2008.  The earmark would prohibit the Los Angeles Veterans Hospital from exchanging, selling or transferring land it owns in Beverly Hills, California, where real estate is at a premium.  In effect, DeMint’s amendment would allow the VA to sell or lease that land.  After DeMint offered his amendment, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., made a motion to table (or kill) the amendment.

DeMint said Feinstein’s earmark would do nothing for veterans, but rather would benefit the “well-to-do citizens of Beverly Hills.”

“This earmark prevents the Veterans’ Administration from taking highly valuable land in one of America’s most lucrative real estate markets and putting it to work for our veterans. It would require that 200-plus acres in the middle of Beverly Hills that could be better used to generate revenue to care for America’s veterans to sit empty,” DeMint said.  He added that the amendment would prohibit the VA from leasing that land as a way to raise more revenue for veteran benefits nationwide.

DeMint’s amendment was offered to the bill that funds military construction and veterans programs in fiscal 2008.

Feinstein said that the land parcel in question is 388 acres of parkland in the middle of Los Angeles, upon which sits a 1,000-bed veterans hospital.  She said the administration has slowly leased out undeveloped parcels of the land, including to an automobile rental agency and a movie studio for use as a filming lot.  The language she included in the underlying bill, which DeMint sought to strike, would prohibit more of that practice.

“What has happened is the administration sees this land dedicated to veterans and says: Aha, there is a higher and better use for this land. We can make $4 billion if we lease out the unbuilt-upon parts of this land. This is land that was deeded to veterans to be used by veterans, not to be used by Fox movies, not to be used by automobile rentals. The administration admits if they do this, they can raise $4 billion in commercial rentals from this land, thereby taking this hospital, now in its park-like setting, and encrusting it with high rise buildings along Wilshire Boulevard,” Feinstein said.

Feinstein added that the land was gifted to the government following the Civil War with the stipulation that it be used permanently as a home for elderly soldiers.  She said the veterans community in Los Angeles, the city and the Los Angeles Times have all supported ending the practice of leasing parcels. “So this amendment is not an amendment just concocted out of my brain,” Feinstein said. Then she moved to kill DeMint’s amendment.

By a vote of 66-25, the Senate voted to table (or kill) DeMint’s amendment.  Of Democrats present, all but one voted to kill DeMint’s amendment (Russ Feingold of Wisconsin).  Of Republicans present, 24 voted not to kill the amendment, and 21 voted to kill it.  The end result was that the measure went forward with language that would prohibit the VA from transferring, selling or leasing property that is part of the Los Angeles veterans hospital.

Issue Areas:

Find your Member of
Congress' votes

Select by Name