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Fri May 20, 2016, 07:55 AM

House Passes $81 Billion Measure for Veterans and Military Construction

Source: New York Times

House Passes $81 Billion Measure for Veterans and Military Construction

By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN and EMMARIE HUETTEMAN MAY 19, 2016

WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday approved an $81.6 billion spending measure for veterans affairs and military construction programs after hours of contentious floor debate that at times focused on cultural disputes, including efforts to restrict the flying of the Confederate flag and a bitter split over workplace protections for gays and lesbians employed by federal contractors.

Those disputes showed once again that the societal fissures that divide Republicans and Democrats are never far below the surface of any debate in Congress, even over a relatively routine spending measure.

The debate over workplace protections had spilled over from Wednesday night when Republicans inserted an amendment to the annual military policy bill that would overturn an executive order by President Obama banning federal government contractors from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation.

The bill, which was considered must-pass legislation, passed along with the amendment by a vote of 277 to 147.

During floor debate on the spending measure on Thursday, some Democrats pushed back. Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, Democrat of New York, turned to Representative Pete Sessions, Republican of Texas, and asked: “Is it necessary to discriminate against gays and lesbians to support our military?”

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Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/20/us/politics/house-passes-81-billion-measure-for-veterans-and-military-construction.html

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