First let me say that the Dems asked for additional $1b funding on top of the $1.5b that we shorted the vets coming home. The repukes voted against it.
By DAVID ESPO
AP Special Correspondent
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Struggling to prevent political damage, Senate Republicans intend to raise spending on veterans programs by $1.5 billion to make up for a shortage caused partly by the return of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, officials said Tuesday.
"I'm glad they have seen the light," said Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada. He said majority Republicans had refused to provide the money when members of his party called for it earlier in the year.
The decision to approve the funds came in response to last week's disclosure that the Department of Veterans Affairs needs $1 billion more for veterans health care this year.
Republicans swiftly retreated on the issue in the Senate, but not in the House.
There, the GOP defeated a Democratic effort to provide an extra $1 billion for veterans health care. The 217-189 vote was along party lines.
"Veterans need to know that no veteran will be without his health care in 2005, nor will they be without their health care in 2006," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas. "There are solutions to this problem, and those solutions are being addressed."
Democrats said that wasn't good enough.
Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Texas, accused the GOP of hiding behind procedural excuses - that the House was debating legislation unrelated to veterans. Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., said that either Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson misled Congress with his earlier statements or he himself had been kept in the dark by other administration officials.
Our veterans, returning home, need to know that they will be taken care!