Newly-elected Minnesota Democrat Rick Nolan was one of only four U.S. House members to vote against the annual Veterans Affairs spending bill, prompting the Republicans’ national campaign organization to call him “cowardly.”
Nolan’s northern Minnesota district is home to three VA centers and an estimated 61,000 veterans.
The attack from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) was to be expected. But 421-4 votes are a rarity in Congress. So Nolan felt obliged to explain:
“I voted against the bill in protest, because it underfunds veterans’ health and benefit programs, while shoveling billions of new dollars into unnecessary new military construction in places all around the world where an American presence and American resources do not belong.”
According to Nolan, the bill passed by the GOP-led House fell $337 million below President Obama’s request for VA programs. (Update: Republicans say the bill represents a 10 percent increase over current funding). Nolan said he hopes his no vote might help produce a better bill after negotiations with the Senate.