Representatives Alicia St. Germaine (R-Harrison) and Joseph Aragona (R-Macomb) released a joint statement on their recent “no” vote against House Bill 4248, which would lower quality of life for Michigan veterans.
“The bill as it stands steers money that should go to our veterans away from that intended purpose, especially when compared to last year’s budget,” St. Germaine said. “The bill as it stands also lowers standards for our veterans’ health care, living spaces and overall quality of life. We should not be using veterans’ lives to push through a bloated budget. We should fund what they actually need directly and efficiently. I’m voting against this bill, but I will continue supporting our veterans and working to bring a new fighter mission to Selfridge and that’s why I’ve introduced a standalone bill to provide $10,000,000 in funding for the base. This will help provide the necessary upgrades to help us bring a new mission and keep this $1.2 billion economic engine for our region strong into the next decade.”
“That base is a beacon of pride and stability for our entire region,” Aragona said. “I am thrilled to be a co-sponsor to this bill and help guarantee its future by demanding that our leaders here simply fund our veteran’s needs – not use them to force through a toxic budget.”
HR 4248 – the proposed budget for the Michigan Department of Military and Veteran affairs – initially left out funding for Selfridge Air National Guard Base, and Republicans attempted in committee to put the funding in via amendments. Instead, Rep. St. Germaine is now introducing a standalone bill that would appropriate $10 million to Selfridge without risking our veterans’ health or their security.
“I thought one thing we could all agree on would be supporting not only a military base full of young soldiers and support staff, but also a vital economic engine in my district,” St. Germaine said. “But the majority seems to believe they can buy my support by offering the $10 million originally promised as an attachment to a bad budget – one that lowers the quality of life for our veterans in the long term. They are mistaken.
“We can do better, and we are going to do better for these people. Not because it’s political. But because they deserve it,” St. Germaine added. “In March I visited the proud veterans of Michigan Veteran Homes which cares for over 210,000 veterans across our state. I promised that as they age we’ll be there for them. I promised I’d keep them safe. I promised them I’d fight. I like to keep my promises.”
HR 4248 now advances to the Senate.
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