Who says Republicans and Democrats can’t get along?
Last week, the Minnesota House – on a 121-1 vote – overwhelmingly approved legislation that would better prioritize veterans needs during this current budget cycle.
When it comes to spending bills, many times several proposals get grouped together into one bill. Often times those groupings make little sense. One glaring example of this would be this year’s state government/pensions/transportation/veterans and military affairs omnibus bill. When this bill was debated on the House floor, it was approved with Democrat votes only.
Many of us on both sides of the aisle have often mentioned that if leadership could just put out a bill containing provisions where nearly everyone agrees, it would be overwhelmingly approved. This veterans bill, now passed as a stand-alone bill, is such an example.
By focusing on issues where both parties agree, we were able to approve a plan that provides well-deserved bonuses to our post 9/11 veterans and gold star families, and funding to help combat veteran homelessness. We were also able to prioritize veterans’ facilities, as the bill includes more than $10 million for construction cost increases for the three new veterans’ homes in Bemidji, Montevideo, and Preston, and more than $16 million for enhancements and furnishings to these facilities.
Our veterans are the best, and they deserve the best. I am very pleased we were able to take politics out of our veterans and military affairs bill and put forward a bipartisan plan that nearly every state lawmaker could support. This is how state government is supposed to work – all sides collaborating on a topic and getting the job done.