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Houston congressperson at odds with Bush over aid to veterans

By James Thompson

HOUSTON - Houston Congressperson Al Green (D-Houston) introduced legislation to increase federal aid to the nation's 200,000 homeless veterans and it passed 412 to 9. Bush has threatened to veto the measure.

Congressperson Green has urged the President to sign the legislation rather than continue his obstructionist pattern of opposing legislation which might benefit working people.

The measure would provide $200 million in housing assistance for low-income veterans and provide 20,000 housing vouchers each year to help homeless vets. Interestingly, Green's Senate partner in the legislation is the Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama.

According to a White House statement, Green's legislation is "well intentioned" but Bush objects to a requirement to follow the Davis-Bacon Act which would require contractors to pay construction workers prevailing wages in the area. The Davis-Bacon Act was adopted in 1931 during the "Great Depression" and prevents companies building public projects with federal money from undercutting local wages.

Eight of nine of the Houston-area's members of Congress backed the legislation which would benefit homeless veterans. Only Rep. Ron Paul, R-Lake Jackson, (former Republican candidate for President who opposes the Iraq War) voted against it.

James Thompson is a psychologist and social justice activist in Texas

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