Pelosi, Pingree and Michaud vote against funding for veterans benefits

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Michaud-Pingree
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.

In an Oct. 1 press release, Michaud said, “I’m especially concerned with the impact a drawn-out shutdown could have on the ability of VA to make benefit payments.”

“The political games need to stop and we must pass a funding resolution as soon as possible,” he said.

In response to Michaud’s vote against funding for veterans affairs, the Maine Republican Party questioned whether the Congressman’s loyalties lie with national Democrats or Maine’s veterans.

“Thirty-three Democrats in the House broke rank with their party leaders and had the courage to vote to provide funding for veterans’ benefits in the face of this government shutdown, but Mike Michaud was not one of them,” said Jason Savage, executive director of the Maine Republican Party.

“Are our veterans as important to Mike Michaud as helping his partisan leadership team to score a few political points?  How can voters expect Mike Michaud to effectively lead our state if he won’t even buck his partisan leaders to help Maine veterans?” asked Savage. “This recent vote against veterans is certainly not a profile in courage – Maine deserves better.”

Calls placed to Michaud’s Washington, D.C. office were not returned.

S.E. Robinson
Maine Wire Reporter
serobinson@themainewire.com

14 COMMENTS

  1. demoracy is the law of the land! we are the majority! Tell Boehner no deal! bring a clean bill to the house from senate for vote! Or standup like a man and admit the house is to blame for shut down! sick of arsehole repukes!

  2. Too bad Stevie the wonder reporter did not bother actually reading this legislation.

    In another cynical Tea Party cheap trick (funded by the radical Koch brothers, the bill the congressmen voted against would have CUT $6 billion from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    Thanks Mike and Chellie for doing the right things for ME veterans

  3. Odd that they do not mention the rider to defund obamacare. None of these articles do. Of coursed they voted against it! Why place that rider on the bill if not just for political fodder and game playing by congress as a whole. These fat cat congressional pinheads have no clue (either side of the aisle) as to what people who have to work for a living have to deal with. He who has the gold makes the rules.

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