CAPT Marshall Hanson
The House on Tuesday passed a $59 billion emergency supplemental bill that will continue to fund overseas contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The final vote was 308 to 114. Voting against the bill were 102 Democrats and 12 Republicans - three times the number who voted against it last year. Ironically, this means that more Republicans voted for it (160) than Democrats (148).
The unusually strong opposition by the president’s own party was motivated by several factors. Besides those voting against the spending in opposition to the war, many voted against the bill in protest of the Senate stripping almost $23 billion from an earlier House version of the bill for schools, summer jobs programs, college aid and minority farmers, among other programs. Still others voted against the bill because information on WikiLeaks caused them to question including funding for the Afghanistan government that classified documents revealed as indicating corruption and incompetence.
The military will get $37 billion in the bill, with another $22 billion going to domestic emergencies, such as flooding in the Midwest, funds for Haiti and cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico. The bill had been delayed because of Capitol Hill politics shifting spending bill priorities and debate over earmarks attached to the supplemental. The tardy war funding was badly needed by the Pentagon, which moved appropriated funding from other accounts to support the war efforts.