WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, Representative Mike Michaud (ME-02), Ranking Member of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, spoke on the House floor today during debate on H.J.Res. 72, a bill that partially funds VA operations and furthers the standoff over the government shutdown. Michaud has previously spoken out against piecemeal approaches pursued by Republican leaders.
"This House bill, like the others before them, will not be considered by the Senate and the President has said he will veto it. Instead of waging a PR war and wasting time on bills that will go nowhere, House Republicans should pursue a solution to the shutdown that could actually pass both chambers and be signed by the President," said Michaud.
In a letter sent to Congress today, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, AMVETS, and Paralyzed Veterans of America called on Congress to provide the full year's funding for all veterans programs, adding that "funding the operations of the VA through short-term continuing resolutions (CRs) or other stop-gap measures are not acceptable solutions."
"Congress must stop using veterans in this partisan game and end this shutdown now," said Michaud.
Michaud's remarks on the House floor today, as prepared for delivery:
"Mr. Speaker: I rise today in opposition to this bill, which is nothing more than a political ploy.
"My colleagues on the other side of the aisle say a vote against this bill is a vote to block services for our veterans. It's actually this government shutdown, which they've caused, that threatens the VA's ability to provide services to our veterans.
"If Republicans in the House were really serious about helping veterans, they'd pass a clean CR and end this government shutdown. If they really wanted to guarantee veterans' services, they would bring H.R. 813 to the floor. This bipartisan bill would fund all of the VA through future advanced appropriations and take this political football off the table forever.
"Passing that bill will make sure that veterans are no longer used--like they're being used today--as a pawn in a political party's scheme. This is an outrage. Bring H.R. 813 to the floor today and vote against this political gimmick."