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         United States Department of Veterans Affairs; Veterans Day National Committee


 Rep. Michaud Condemns Use of Veterans as Political Pawns


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, can be found below:


164 Democrats Vote Against Funding Veterans’ Benefits

HJ Res. 72

Vote summary: 264-164. Failed (required 2/3 majority).

H J RES 72      2/3 YEA-AND-NAY      1-Oct-2013      7:44 PM
QUESTION:  On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Pass
BILL TITLE: Making continuing appropriations for veterans benefits for fiscal year 2014, and for other purposes

Yeas Nays PRES NV
Republican 231 1
Democratic 33 164 3
TOTALS 264 164   4

This bill would have restored funding for American veterans’ benefits. The 164 Democrats listed on this page don’t think veterans’ benefits are important enough to pay for. These 164 Democrats (no Republican voted against the bill) voted to block funding for veterans’ benefits.

Click the tweet [links] to ask them why.

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Harry Reid blocks funding for veterans programs, national parks


Senate Democrats blocked four resolutions to fund government programs, including paying the National Guard and opening national parks, as Republicans offered the limited measures in an attempt to win the government shutdown fight by financing popular programs and leaving those they oppose untouched.

“Unbelievably, today Senate Democrats went on record to oppose funding for National Guard and Reserve salaries, veterans’ services, lifesaving medicine and cures, and national parks and museums,” Senate Republican Conference chairman John Thune, R-S.D., said in a release following the procedural battle.

“Congress unanimously passed a bill to ensure active-duty military personnel are paid during this lapse in government funding, and it’s unclear why Senate Democrats wouldn’t pass similar measures to fund these important services,” Thune said.

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Military keeps Camp David open, cuts NFL, baseball coverage to troops overseas


President Obama has visited the Navy-run presidential retreat Camp David in central Maryland only 32 times, but it is being kept open during the government shutdown for his entertainment and security at the same time the Pentagon is cutting sports coverage to hundreds of thousands of troops around the world.

A phone call to the retreat found it open, confirming a TMZ report.

Camp David is one of the most highly secure areas in the nation and provides the president with a safe haven. The president has been known to shoot skeet at Camp David, which he most recently used for his 52nd birthday, according to CBS White House Correspondent Mark Knoller.

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Pelosi, Pingree and Michaud vote against funding for veterans benefits


Reps. Michael Michaud (left) and Chellie Pingree (right) voted Tuesday against continuing funding for veterans benefits

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Amid the shutdown turmoil in the nation’s capital city, 33 House Democrats crossed party lines Tuesday night to support a GOP measure to restore funding for veterans benefits for fiscal year 2014.

The resolution failed (264 – 164) to get the two-thirds vote threshold required for passage in the House under a suspension of the rules. Reps. Michael Michaud and Chellie Pingree joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to help defeat the resolution.

The failure of the measure offers little assurance to veterans, whose benefits have been jeopardized by the uncertainty of partisan chaos in grid-locked D.C. Although October’s benefit checks have already gone out, a prolonged shutdown could place November’s payments in doubt. Moreover, the backlog of veterans benefits claims, which only recently has begun to shrink, will certainly grow since many VA staffers have been furloughed.

The vote is especially problematic for Michaud, who has abdicated his congressional seat to run for governor, and who has made veterans affairs the signature issue of his decade in Congress. Michaud’s vote also runs contrary to statements he made on Tuesday regarding appropriations for veterans benefits in light of the partial federal shutdown.

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