House Clears Military Spending Bill Despite Obama’s Veto Threat
On Thursday, the House voted 407-12 to approve a GOP fiscal year 2013 military and veterans affairs appropriations bill (HR 5854) that would boost health care spending for veterans, despite a White House warning that it would veto the bill, The Hill's "Floor Action Blog" reports.
Nearly all House Democrats -- including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) -- supported the bill (Kasperowicz, "Floor Action Blog," The Hill, 5/31).
Details of the Bill
Under the House bill, the Department of Veterans Affairs would receive $60.7 billion in discretionary spending -- an increase of 4% from last year's level -- that would be used primarily for health care, according to CQ Today. Of that amount, VA would receive $41.4 billion for medical services (Mulero, CQ Today, 5/31).
Other allocations include:
- About $6.2 billion for mental health programs;
- $250 million for rural health services;
- $220 million for traumatic brain injury treatment; and
- $73 million for suicide prevention programs.
The measure also would withhold 75% of funds available for a VA-Department of Defense integrated health records program until administrators submit a data standardization schedule and annual spending report to Congress (Fuller, CQ Weekly, 5/14).
White House Veto
According to the AP/San Francisco Chronicle, the bill was expected to pass in the House despite the veto threat. The threat came because House GOP leaders are preparing to pass 12 spending bills for FY 2013 that would "break faith" with last year's debt-reduction deal by reducing overall spending for Veterans Affairs operating budgets by $19 billion, the AP/Chronicle reports (Taylor, AP/ San Francisco Chronicle, 5/31).
The Obama administration also said the bill's $10.8 billion spending increase from the FY 2012 appropriations bill would "require harmful cuts" to health care and other "critical priorities" ("Floor Action Blog," The Hill, 5/31).
Abandon Ryan Budget, Administration SaysAlthough the administration noted that it would be able to accept most of the military spending bill, The Hill's "On The Money" reports that it adopted a new policy of rejecting all 12 annual House appropriations measures unless Republicans abandon House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) House-approved FY 2013 budget resolution (Wasson, "On The Money," The Hill, 5/30). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.