This was a vote on a motion to recommit that would have provided $20 million for a veterans’ suicide prevention program. A motion to recommit with instructions is the minority's opportunity to torpedo or significantly change a bill before a final up-or-down vote on the measure. This motion to recommit was offered to legislation providing annual funding for military construction projects and veterans’ programs.
Rep. Bill Owens (D-NY) urged support for this motion to recommit: “There's been much debate in the House today about hard choices. Our veterans made hard choices, made difficult decisions, and many of them suffer because of that….We are asking that approximately $20 million be appropriated…to assist in the prevention of suicide among veterans. I know as a young man--actually, as a young boy--I had uncles from World War I, friends of my father's from World War II who suffered from PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder]. It wasn't known by that term then, but clearly they did. When you go to Walter Reed, when you go to Fort Drum and you look into the eyes of the young men and women returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, you can see the pain. This is what we are called to deal with today.”
Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) opposed the motion to recommit: “…We have provided funding…to help our men and women in uniform do the job that they do every day defending this nation, to help our veterans as they move out of active duty into retired status, to help the Veterans Administration treat not only the veterans who have suffered or been injured in combat in defense of this nation, but also those veterans who have suffered in some way psychological trauma that would put them at risk of suicide, a growing problem, and one that the committee is deeply concerned about...The…[underlying veterans’ bill]…has provided essentially $70 million at the president's request, at the request of the Veterans Administration. We have fully funded in every way the request of the professionals in this area, what they believe is necessary to meet the need that they have determined is out there among the veterans of this nation.”
The House rejected this motion to recommit by a vote of 184-234. All 182 Democrats present and 2 Republicans voted “yea.” 234 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have provided $20 million for a veterans’ suicide prevention program.