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 »
PLANS TO CURB ITS POWER
Pruitt Confirmed As EPA Head
2 days ago
BREAKING
WOULD HAVE REPLACED FLYNN
Harward Turns Down NSC Job
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Ret. Vice Adm. Bob Harward turned down President Donald Trump's offer to be national security adviser Thursday, depriving the administration of a top candidate for a critical foreign policy post days after Trump fired Michael Flynn." Among the potential reasons: his family, his lack of assurances that he could build his own team, and that "the White House seems so chaotic."

Source:
REVERSES OBAMA RULE
House Votes to Let States Block Planned Parenthood Funds
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"The House passed a resolution Thursday re-opening the door for states to block Planned Parenthood from receiving some federal funds. The measure, which passed 230-188, would reverse a last-minute rule from the Obama administration that said conservative states can't block the women's health and abortion provider from receiving family planning dollars under the Title X program."

Source:
FORMER PROSECUTOR
Alexander Acosta to Get Nod for Labor
3 days ago
THE LATEST
12:30 PRESS CONFERENCE
New Labor Secretary Announcement Coming
3 days ago
BREAKING
×
×

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