The House recently approved an expansion of the education benefits available to veterans under an initiative known as VET-TEC… and for some reason, a group of far-right House Republicans including some familiar names voted against it, though they were easily defeated.
Andy Biggs, Andrew Clyde, Paul Gosar, and Harriet Hageman — the last of whom is the Trump-aligned Wyoming Republican who replaced Liz Cheney — were all among the eight Republicans who voted no. It’s not clear if Hageman made a statement about the vote, but one could probably assume that the opposition is drawn from the general right-wing complaint about the government doing basically anything, which in this case was taken to such an extreme that those House members opposed support for veterans looking to receive an education.
In Congress, Hageman has quickly assumed a somewhat prominent position, as she was put on the House’s Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, which is led by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and has helped facilitate GOP fishing expeditions targeting Dems. In total, the bill that Hageman and those others opposed easily passed, with 409 members of the chamber voting in favor.
The bill specifically supports educational opportunities outside the pathways of traditional degrees in areas like computer programming and related undertakings. The benefits are available to individuals who, besides meeting other requirements, spent at least three total years on active duty, and the support is mandated to be generally equal to some of what veterans can receive under the GI Bill for pursuing traditional college degrees. Even House Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) celebrated the passage.
“Our veterans deserve the best career opportunities when they re-enter civilian life—but education is not one-size-fits-all,” McCarthy said on Twitter. “That’s why I introduced the Vet-Tec pilot program in 2017 to allow our servicemembers to use their G.I. benefits for non-traditional educational courses. This week, the House voted to expand and extend the program for many more years to come.” The 15 Republicans who either opposed the bill or didn’t show up mean that Democratic votes were responsible for securing approval. Republican votes alone would have left it supported by just below 50 percent of participating members.