Exclusive–Rep. Bridenstine: Disabled Veterans Are Not a Bargaining Chip

The much-hyped bipartisan Ryan-Murray budget “deal” struck late last year increases the national debt $6.4 trillion over the next ten years. It does nothing to change the trajectory of our growing debt at a time when it is among the greatest national security threats facing our nation. The “deal” also increases near term federal spending with a promise of future cuts (dubious) while raising taxes on airline passengers. Worse, it features a cut in pension benefits to current military members and veterans who earned those pensions in measures of blood and sweat. I voted against it. 

Now that it has passed, Congress will vote to appropriate (spend) money under the Ryan-Murray budget “deal.” This $1 trillion omnibus spending package is 1,582 pages of legislative text that was released on Monday night for a vote on Wednesday.

The same politicians who passed the misguided Ryan-Murray budget “deal” are now using disabled veterans to compel members of Congress to vote for the $1 trillion spending package. If you vote for the $1 trillion spending package, it unwinds the disabled veteran benefit cuts. If you vote against the $1 trillion spending package, you are “against the vets.”

People are sick of this type of politics. If the House Leadership wanted to unwind the disabled veteran benefit cuts, they could bring this single issue to the floor for a vote at any time and it would pass almost unanimously. In fact, 149 Members, including me, co-sponsored Representative Jeff Miller’s H.R. 3789, which does exactly that. Instead, Leadership tied it to a $1 trillion spending bill that no one will have time to read or understand.

Disabled veterans are not a bargaining chip.

If that alone did not convince me to vote no, here are just some of the other reasons I’m voting against the $1 trillion spending package:

  • Continued funding of abortions

  • United Nations Population Fund (more abortion funding)

  • Green energy subsidies

  • Green infrastructure spending

  • Obamacare funding and exchange subsidies

  • Stimulus package “investments” continued

  • $80 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission (earmark???)

There are undoubtedly other problems embedded in this legislation. Unfortunately, we are expected to “pass it to find out what is in it.” I will be voting no.


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