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Biden threatens veto of veteran funding over abortion, LGBT provisions

By Casey Harper
The Center Square

U.S. House Republicans passed legislation Wednesday to fund the Department of Veterans Affairs and military construction, but a battle over abortion, sexuality and other issues may sink the bill.

The Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2025 features $378.644 billion in spending. 

That funding includes $147.520 billion for the Department of Defense’s military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and “related agencies.”  

Wednesday’s legislation is one of 12 appropriations bills needed to fund the government, and was passed largely along party lines.

“I voted YES on the FY25 Military Construction and VA funding bill,” U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “It fully funds programs for our nation’s veterans, bolsters our Indo-Pacific security, and defunds woke policies.”

President Joe Biden, however, has threatened to veto the bill because of provisions meant to take on “woke policies.”

“This morning, I voted in favor of the 2025 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act,” Rep. Barry Moore, R-Ala., wrote on X. “This legislation fully funds veterans benefits, bolsters national security, and ends Biden's mission to make our bases woke.”

The White House released a statement ahead of the vote saying the president will veto the bill if it makes it to his desk.

“Similar to last year, H.R. 8580 includes numerous, partisan policy provisions with devastating consequences including harming access to reproductive healthcare, threatening the health and safety of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Americans, endangering marriage equality, hindering critical climate change initiatives, and preventing the Administration from promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion,” the White House said in a statement.

Besides LGBT issues, the White House opposes the legislation’s limits on the use of taxpayer funds for abortions.

“The Administration strongly opposes section 255 of the bill, which would prevent VA from using funds to implement, administer, or otherwise carry out the Final Rule published on March 4, 2024, which expanded access to abortion counseling and abortion under limited circumstances for certain veterans and VA beneficiaries,” the White House said in a statement.

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