Boehner Aborts Effort to Cut VA Budget

Posted July 27, 2010 at 7:25pm

House Minority Leader John Boehner’s office made the unusual move of proposing to cut tens of millions of dollars from a veterans bill this week, then aborting the effort at the last minute.

It’s unusual for leaders to offer floor amendments themselves and even more unusual to withdraw them at the last minute. On Tuesday, the Ohio Republican shelved three amendments to the Veterans Affairs appropriations bill that would have stripped it of more than $60 million, just before the House Rules Committee was set to make them in order, said Vincent Morris, a committee spokesman.

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said the Minority Leader withdrew his amendments so that other GOP members could offer their own.

“Given the limits that Speaker Pelosi has put on floor debate on appropriations bills, Boehner chose to defer to other Republicans with jurisdiction and expertise on the VA who had been working on other amendments,” Steel said, referring to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

The amendments would have reduced the funding for the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs within the Department of Veterans Affairs by $2.8 million, eliminated $14.1 million from the VA Office of Policy and Planning and reduced funds for VA-Information Technology by $45 million.

One House GOP aide said Boehner’s amendment would have cut bureaucrats, not services for veterans.