House Votes to Repeal Cuts to Vets Benefits, Extend Sequester

But the $6 billion battle will be largely fought in the Senate.

US Representative John Boehner, Republican of Ohio, holds up his gavel after being re-elected as Speaker of the House alongside US Representative Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California and returning Minority Leader, during the opening session of the 113th US House of Representatives at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 3, 2013.  
National Journal
Stacy Kaper
Add to Briefcase
Stacy Kaper
Feb. 11, 2014, 10:19 a.m.

The House voted 326-90 Tues­day to re­verse a con­tro­ver­sial $6 bil­lion cut in vet­er­ans be­ne­fits in­cluded in last year’s budget deal.

The House bill would off­set the cost of the re­pealed cuts by ex­tend­ing the budget se­quester for man­dat­ory spend­ing cuts by an ad­di­tion­al year.

The cham­ber is al­most un­an­im­ous in its de­sire to re­verse the cuts, but some Demo­crats voted against the bill be­cause it would fund the vet­er­ans be­ne­fits, in part, through fur­ther cuts to man­dat­ory do­mest­ic spend­ing for so­cial pro­grams they fa­vor.

Demo­crats on Monday had in­dic­ated to Re­pub­lic­an lead­er­ship that they would not be able to de­liv­er suf­fi­cient votes to pass the be­ne­fits bill if it was tied to the debt ceil­ing. The ob­jec­tions to the debt-ceil­ing plan stemmed not from ob­jec­tions to restor­ing the be­ne­fits, but rather from Demo­crats’ con­cern that they would set a pre­ced­ent whereby Re­pub­lic­ans could tie pro­vi­sions — even le­gis­la­tion with broad bi­par­tis­an sup­port — to a fu­ture debt-ceil­ing in­crease.

In the end, 120 Demo­crats suppored the vet­er­ans meas­ure Tues­day, while 71 voted against it.

The bill now heads to the Sen­ate where it faces an un­cer­tain fu­ture. Sen­ate Demo­crats are ar­guing that vet­er­ans already paid their debt to so­ci­ety and that the le­gis­la­tion to re­verse the cost-of-liv­ing ad­just­ment cuts should pass without off­set­ting the le­gis­la­tion. And Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id told re­port­ers Tues­day that he would not sup­port the House’s se­quester ex­ten­sion.

But Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­ans are still in­sist­ing that any le­gis­la­tion to re­verse the cuts must con­tain pro­vi­sions to pre­vent it from in­creas­ing the de­fi­cit.

A bill to re­verse the vets COLA cuts from Arkan­sas Demo­crat Mark Pry­or is pending in the Sen­ate. Demo­crats say they hope to com­plete that bill this week, but the cham­ber might ad­journ for its Pres­id­ents Day re­cess as soon as Wed­nes­day be­cause of an ex­pec­ted snowstorm.

Sarah Mimms contributed to this article.
What We're Following See More »
HE WAS 89
Former Rep. Bill Goodling Dies
8 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

Former Rep. Bill Goodling (R-PA), who served 26 years in the House representing York County, PA, died Sunday at age 89. Goodling, who succeeded his father George Goodling in 1975, "faced few serious opponents over the years, winning 13 consecutive terms. He retired in 2001." He also served as chair of the House Education and Labor Committee from 1995-2001.

Source:
AGENCY RESOURCES HAVE BEEN STRETCHED
Don Jr. and Conway Give Up Secret Service Protection
53 minutes ago
WHY WE CARE

"Donald Trump Jr., his wife Vanessa Trump, and Kellyanne Conway are dropping Secret Service protection, Fox News has confirmed. The move to get rid of round-the-clock protection came after Trump Jr. wished to have more privacy. Other family members of the president will remain under Secret Service protection." Conway dropped the protection after the threat level against her dropped from earlier in the administration.

Source:
OVER BREXIT
UK Foreign Sec. Johnson Threatens to Resign
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson "will resign as Foreign Secretary before the weekend if Theresa May veers towards a 'Swiss-style' arrangement with the EU in her Brexit speech in Florence, The Telegraph understands." He "believes he will have no option but to walk out of the Cabinet if the Prime Minister advocates permanently paying for access to the single market."

Source:
BUDGET TO COME FIRST
Trillion-Dollar Tax Cut in the Offing for Senate GOP
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Senate Republicans are considering writing a budget that would allow for up to $1.5 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade. ... A budget that creates fiscal room for a $1.5 trillion tax cut, if adopted, would then be followed by a tax bill that would specify rate cuts and other policy changes that don’t exceed that figure. Calling for a tax cut in the budget would let Republicans lower tax rates while making fewer tough decisions on what tax breaks to eliminate to help pay for the cuts."

Source:
89-8 VOTE ON MONDAY
Senate Votes to Boost Defense Spending by $700 Billion
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The Senate has overwhelmingly approved a sweeping defense policy bill that would pump $700 billion into the military, putting the U.S. armed forces on track for a budget greater than at any time during the decade-plus wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Senators passed the legislation by an 89-8 vote Monday."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login