This was a vote on a motion to recommit that would have increased funding by $200 million for a program that provided veterans of the National Guard with health care and education benefits, career counseling, and suicide prevention services. 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 Defense Department programs in fiscal year 2012.
Rep. John Barrow (D-GA) urged support for this motion to recommit: “We Americans owe no greater debt than we owe the men and women of our armed services who risk their lives to protect our freedoms. We currently have around 350,000 troops deployed overseas. About a third of that number come from our National Guard and Reserve. While most Americans don't know it, many National Guard members don't get the same support we give career servicemembers….To address this disparity, in 2008, Congress established the yellow ribbon reintegration program to provide a support program tailored to meet the needs of National Guard and Reserve combat veterans and their families. The yellow ribbon program helps servicemembers and their families throughout deployment, with programs such as career counseling, suicide prevention, access to health care, veterans benefits, and education benefits. This final amendment would increase funding for that program by $200 million.”
Rep. Bill Young (R-FL) opposed the motion to recommit: “The bill already contains $246.5 million for the yellow ribbon program, which we support. It's a good program, especially for reintegration for returning guardsmen and reservists and their families. In addition, we accepted an amendment by the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Holt) to add $20 million for further suicide prevention for our returning combat veterans. This comes to a total of $266.5 million.…So I think we did pretty good, and I think that this motion to recommit is a strong indication that there's nothing really wrong with this bill, we just ought to go ahead and defeat the motion to recommit and pass the bill.”
The House rejected this motion to recommit by a vote of 188-234. Voting “yea” were 185 Democrats and 3 Republicans. 233 Republicans and 1 Democrat voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected a motion to recommit that would have increased funding by $200 million for a program that provided veterans of the National Guard with health care and education benefits, career counseling, and suicide prevention services.