Houlahan Votes Against MilCon-VA Bill, Citing Partisan Provisions

Representative Chrissy HoulahanImage via Office of Representative Chrissy Houlahan

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) voted against the FY25 Military Construction (MilCon), Veterans Affairs (VA), and Related Agencies appropriations legislation. Known as MilCon-VA, the bill included several controversial provisions that Houlahan describes as hyper-partisan. Despite her opposition, the bill passed largely along party lines with a vote of 209 to 197, with 25 members not voting.

“As a third-generation veteran, I am enormously honored to serve in Congress on behalf of our past, current, and future men and women in uniform,” said Houlahan. “There is never an appropriate time for partisan politics, but especially when it comes to our military community.”

Houlahan criticized House Republicans for bringing forward a bill she believes lacks bipartisanship. She expressed frustration with the inclusion of provisions that she feels are detrimental to veterans and servicemembers. The bill includes measures that prohibit the VA from offering reproductive health care counseling, eliminate funding for bases to adapt to climate change, and hinder efforts to address veteran suicide by making it more difficult to remove firearms from those at risk of self-harm.

“When this MilCon-VA funding bill inevitably ends up in the Senate graveyard of partisan legislation, I look forward to working on a commonsense bill to fund necessary national security priorities and take care of our nation’s veterans, including the more than 30,000 who call PA-06 home,” Houlahan added.

The opposition to the bill extends beyond Houlahan. New Democrat Coalition (NDC) Chair Annie Kuster (NH-02) and NDC National Security Task Force Chair Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) also rejected the legislation. They criticized House Republicans for advancing what they view as extremist policy riders that President Biden has already vowed to veto.

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“Rather than move away from the hyper-partisan and extremist approach that severely delayed the 2024 appropriations process, House Republicans are doubling down,” Kuster said. She emphasized that the bill fails to support veterans and servicemembers adequately.

Strickland echoed these sentiments, highlighting that the bill’s provisions threaten Americans’ access to reproductive healthcare, harm the LGBTQI+ community, and negatively impact historically marginalized groups. Both Kuster and Strickland called for a shift towards commonsense, bipartisan government funding bills.

Bipartisan Battles: Impact on Veterans and Servicemembers

Houlahan’s stance points to a broader issue within the legislative process. For too long, both parties have pushed partisan bills through the House, knowing that a bipartisan compromise would eventually become law. This divisive tactic hampers effective governance and delays critical support for veterans and servicemembers.

The implications of passing partisan bills are significant. Veterans and servicemembers depend on timely and adequate funding to receive the benefits and resources they deserve. Delays and political infighting can leave them without essential support, impacting their health, well-being, and ability to reintegrate into civilian life.

In summary, Houlahan’s vote against the MilCon-VA bill highlights her commitment to bipartisan solutions for veterans and servicemembers. As the bill moves to the Senate, the hope is for a more collaborative approach that prioritizes the needs of those who have served the nation.

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