RE: Porking Iraqby Jason Pye
I received an e-mail from the Washington office of Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) about my post on the pork filled Iraq supplemental bill. This was originally written for the New York Times, but they have asked me to post it here:
I am writing in response to a recent op-ed challenging my motives in voting in favor of the recent spending bill for Iraq (“Pork Goes to War,” 3/30/2007).
While I voted against authorizing the war and against the first two spending bills for Iraq, I voted for the following five bills that included funding for Iraq after it became clear that despite my best efforts our troops were not coming home right away and they had been sent into combat by the Bush administration without adequate protective equipment. Therefore, my recent vote in favor of the bill was not inconsistent with my prior voting record.
It is a mistake is to attribute my vote in favor of the most recent Iraq spending bill to the inclusion of $400 million in funding that benefits 615 counties and 4,400 schools in 39 states. While it is true that I asked for that funding to be included because without it counties in my district would be forced to slash sheriff patrols, health care and other vital services, my vote in favor of the bill was never dependent on that funding. However, I argued that having large rural counties with no law enforcement would constitute an emergency and I’m grateful the Democratic leadership agreed.
Put simply, I voted in favor of the bill because it will end the war. Under the bill, our troops would have to be brought home from Iraq beginning no later than March 2008. The withdrawal would have to be completed by the end of August 2008.
Any suggestion that I had another motive for supporting the bill is flat out wrong.
U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio
4th District, Oregon
[UPDATE] I wanted to add that DeFazio is a member of the Progressive Caucus, the very group that these buyouts targeted.