Tag: appropriations

S02E06: H.J. Res. 44

cross-posted from Main Street Insider

This week’s summary takes a look at House Joint Resolution 44, the continuing resolution that funds the government through March 18th while Congress continues to negotiate the budget for FY2011. This budget fight is the hot topic in DC, seeing as it will undoubtedly affect every issue going forward.

Happy Moratorium Day! Another $162-billion for war

Another cave-in by Congressional Democrats.  Another deal to keep the war going, in exchange for a few crumbs.

Today is Iraq Moratorium day.  Do something to let them know what you think.

It’s true that 151 Democrats voted against the war funding.  So, if you want to thank them, go ahead — but don’t thank them too much, David Swanson  says.  Here’s the roll call.

“Not a single one of them did a damned thing more than vote no,” Swanson (left), of Democrats.com, ImpeachCheney.org and , AfterDowningStreet.org said in a Milwaukee appearance Thursday night.  They didn’t issue public statements to the media, write their colleagues, or do anything to press to defeat the bill.  “They voted no, knowing it would pass.”

That’s not why Americans elected a new Congressional majority in 2006, Swanson said.  We elected them to end the war in Iraq.  Instead, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Dems like David Obey are happy to have negotiated a bill that the Republicans would vote for and pass. “They are hiding behind the troops,” Swanson said, when a majority of Americans in a Democrats.com poll said they would stop funding the war and bring the troops home within six months.

Democrats say we have to keep funding the occupation because it’s dangerous “to do what the majority wants” in an election year, Swanson said. They want us to elect them again so that they can do what they didn’t do last time we elected them.  But by spring, it will be only 18 months until the next election, so it will be dangerous again to vote to end the war, he said.

The fact that the House also voted for money for new veterans benefits, for unemployment benefits, and for flood relief is no consolation for funding the war.

Who wouldn’t support those items if they came up as separate bills, Swanson asked.

Instead, the veterans benefits are attached as an amendment to a bill that will result in many more deaths, physical and psychological injuries to American troops and Iraqis, and damage the US economy.  

Ask House Dems to say no to latest Iraq sellout

It’s such a “business as usual” story that the NY Times relegated it to page 21.

House Democrats have made another deal to fund the war in Iraq.

They’re voting today to give the Bush administration another $162-billion for Iraq and Afghanistan.

In return, Bush and the Repubs have apparently agreed to a better, expanded GI bill for veterans, extended unemployment compensation, and some helped to flooded areas.

A bad deal.

Call your House member today — right now — and say that.

It seems like the fix is in.  The deal is probably done.

But let’s not let it happen quietly on page 21.  Speak up.

The Washington Post says there will be two votes, one on the domestic spending and one on the money for the war.

Tell them to just say no.  Call now. The House switchboard is 202-225-3121. Or find your member here.

And on Friday, take some action yourself to end the war and occupation.  It’s Iraq Moratorium day, a day to take some action, individually or collectively, to interrupt your normal routine and make a statement.  

A postscript: Mission Accomplished:

BAGHDAD – Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.

Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP – the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company – along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat.


Confront Congress members on their Memorial Day holiday

This from our friends at United for Peace and Justice.  It needs no further comment from me: 

Apparently the Senate doesn't think there are enough fallen soldiers to honor this Memorial Day, so they have passed a funding bill to extend the Iraq war and occupation past Memorial Day 2009. And were they even thinking of the potentially thousands of Iraqis who will die? To add to the moral repugnance of the Senate's actions, they have tied important programs including GI and unemployment benefits to the Iraq funding bill. Vets can get college tuition, but they'll need to spend another year in Iraq first. See below for details on the Senate bill and to find out how your senators voted.

Are you as outraged as we are?

But we can't give up the fight just yet. The Senate bill will go back to the House of Representatives for a vote in the beginning of June. Before they vote though, members of Congress will be coming home for their week-long Memorial Day recess. That means they will be at parades, picnics, campaign events and in their offices. They must hear from you — loud or silent, rude or polite, funny or solemn, in print, on the phone or in person. There are many ways to convey one message: Stop funding the war, bring all our troops home now! Use as many of them as you can!

Please check the UFPJ calendar to see if there are any Memorial Day Peace events near you (and make sure your event is listed if you are organizing one).

Click here to find out who your representative is and the locations and phone numbers of their local offices.

Let us know how you contacted your representative — phone, email, fax, in-person, etc. — who you reached, what you said, and what the response was.

Pentagon puts the squeeze on ‘supporting the troops’

And so it begins:

(Bloomberg)– The U.S. Army won’t be able to pay soldiers beyond June 15 unless Congress approves $108 billion more for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or authorizes a funds transfer, a Defense Department official said.

If the supplemental spending legislation isn’t enacted by then, the Pentagon will be forced to seek congressional authority to use money designated for other services to fund the Army payroll, department spokesman Geoff Morrell said.

Pentagon budget officials briefed congressional staffers about the funding crunch earlier today, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates addressed the issue in a letter to lawmakers yesterday, Morrell said at a Pentagon briefing.

If those Democrats in Congress don’t knuckle under move quickly, we’ll just have to quit paying the troops.


Obey tells White House to stick its spending bill

Wisconsin’s Dave Obey, the House Appropriations chair, is never one to mince words.  

He’s famous for his explosive language and telling it like it is, even on the House floor.  

He’s got a temper (not that there’s anything wrong with that.)  And he hates to be pushed around.

So it should be no surprise that Obey has pulled the plug on the deal the Democrats were working on with the White House, to pour billions more into Iraq in return for some domestic pork.

The Washington Post reports:  

A Democratic deal to give President Bush some war funding in exchange for additional domestic spending appeared to collapse last night after House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey (D-Wis.) accused Republicans of bargaining in bad faith.

Instead, Obey said he will push a huge spending bill that would hew to the president’s spending limit by stripping it of all lawmakers’ pet projects, as well as most of the Bush administration’s top priorities. It would also contain no money for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“When the White House continues to stick it in our eye, I say to hell with it,” House Appropriations Chairman David Obey. He said he will push a stripped-down spending bill.

He’s just as hot in his Wall Street Journal quotes:

“I’m not in the business of trying to pave the way for $70 billion or $90 billion for Iraq for $10 billion in table scraps,” Obey said. “We asked Bush to compromise. He has chosen to go the confrontation route.”

“I want no linkage what-so-ever between domestic [spending] and the war. I want the war to be dealt with totally on its own. We shouldn’t be trading off domestic priorities for the war.”

Whether he can make it stick is another question.  As chairman, he has a lot of clout.  But too many Democrats seem far to ready to wheel and deal and sell us out on the war, as noted here on Saturday.

But Obey, at least, has had enough.  He sounds ready to dig in for the long haul — unless his caucus undermines him, which would not be a shock.  Back to the Post:

House Democratic leaders were scheduled to complete work last night on a $520 billion spending bill that included $11 billion in funding for domestic programs above the president’s request, half of what Democrats had initially approved. The bill would have also contained $30 billion for the war in Afghanistan, upon which the Senate would have added billions more for Iraq before final congressional approval.

But a stern veto threat this weekend from White House budget director Jim Nussle put the deal in jeopardy, and Obey said he is prepared for a long standoff with the White House.

“If anybody thinks we can get out of here this week, they’re smoking something illegal,” he said.

A timely call to your representative in the House would be in order, asking him/her to do the right thing and refuse to support any Iraq appropriations that are not tied to troop withdrawals.

Call the House Switchboard 202-224-3121

Or go here to find email and phone for your representative.

UPDATE: Another Wisconsin blogger notes that Obey has been less than consistent on war funding and wonders whether he has seen the light.