House Republicans have passed a bipartisan budget deal that aims to avert a government shutdown.
The measure, which passed the House on a 241-192 vote on Thursday, also included a provision to give veterans a two-week grace period to apply for disability compensation, but it was not clear how much of the funding would go to the VA.
Democrats said the provision would give a major boost to the struggling agency that has long struggled to keep up with a surging backlog of disability claims.
But the measure also included an increase in Veterans Affairs spending.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said the agreement would help veterans and the economy.
He added that “the American people deserve better than a government that’s not doing its job.”
Democrats said that, in addition to the veterans’ benefits, the agreement included $1.4 billion to help pay for veterans’ home improvements and other repairs.
Republicans, however, said they didn’t like the way the deal was structured.
“I don’t like that we’re making a deal that’s a gimmick that will give a bunch of money to the people who can’t afford it, that’s going to hurt the middle class, that hurts veterans, that will hurt our economy,” said Rep. Pete Sessions (R,Texas), chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R.I.), a veteran who also sits on the House Appropriations Committee, said he was disappointed that the deal didn’t include any relief for veterans.
“We’re supposed to help our veterans, but we’re supposed of getting money for the middle-class,” Gallagher said.
“I’m not happy that we got it that way.”