On March 30, by a vote of 343 to 81, the House passed a bill (H.R. 3966) that would give Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) units open and equal access to students at colleges and universities across the country. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike Rogers (R.-Ala.), was designed to offer support to the military.
“This bill is based a one simple principal — colleges and universities that accept Federal funding should also be willing to permit military recruiters equal access to students in ROTC scholarship programs,” said Rogers.
The bill requires colleges and universities to give military recruiters access to campus equal to any other private employer. Colleges and universities who already support ROTC programs must verify that they will continue to do so in the upcoming academic year. Currently, schools that bar the ROTC program cannot receive funding from the departments of Defense, Education, Labor or Health and Human Services, but this bill will block federal money from the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA, and the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration as well.
Rogers noted that the bill would not disturb federal financial student aid.
While Republicans saw the bill as an effort to ensure that military recruiters are successful in their job — a job that affects national security — several liberals, including Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D.-Calif.) insisted that “the reality is that this bill is not about equal access — it is about discrimination, pure and simple.”
The bill, Woolsey said, “is nothing short of an open and codified policy of intolerance, intolerance against homosexuals, for the reason of their sexual orientation. Until the incredibly unjust ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell’ policy is drastically altered, bills like H.R. 3966 will continue to allow for the open discrimination against one group of Americans.”
Rep. Randy Cunningham (R.-Calif.), on the other hand, branded the attack as yet another example of liberal intolerance of national defense. “They vote against defense bills, they vote against intelligence bills, and they also vote against or for every amendment that would gut both military and defense,” he said.
“Today, as our Nation calls for able new leaders in the war on terror, it is time for our universities and our colleges in America to honor that call and help lead our nation,” said Rep. Chris Cox (R.-Calif.).
A “yes” vote was a vote in favor of the ROTC and Military Recruiter Equal Access to Campus Act. A “no” vote was a vote against the bill.
|For the Bill: 343||Against the Bill: 81|
|REPUBLICANS FOR: 220
Davis, Jo Ann
DEMOCRATS FOR: 123
|REPUBLICANS AGAINST: 2
DEMOCRATS AGAINST: 78
INDEPENDENT AGAINST: 1
Not Voting: 9
|REPUBLICANS (5):||DEMOCRATS (4):||INDEPENDENTS (0)|