Iraq War Funding (and Pork) Passesby Kevin Boyd
The bill to continue funding the Iraq War until September with no timelines has passed Congress.
Congress voted tonight to meet President Bushâ€™s demand for almost $100 billion to pay for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through September, providing a momentary truce in a bitter struggle over war policy.
Even before the House and Senate approved the war spending bill, President Bush welcomed the legislation, which does not set the timetable for withdrawing troops sought by Democrats but requires the Iraqi government to meet a series of benchmarks as a condition of receiving further American reconstruction aid.
The measure also calls for new reports from Mr. Bush in July and September on how his strategy is unfolding in Iraq and requires independent assessments of the performance of the Iraqi government and the capabilities of Iraqi military forces.
In other words, when (not if) the Iraqi government does not meet the benchmarks in September, the war will probably come to an end, for the United States at least. The withdrawal of combat forces will probably start by the end of the year. The only way the situation will change is if the situation dramatically improves on the ground and terrorist attacks begin to dramatically decline because the American people will not support continuing to pour money down the Iraq rathole with no results.
The war continuation itself passed 280-142 in the House with a majority o f Democrats and two Republicans opposing. However, the amendment to put in a $1 increase in the minimum wage and another $10 billion in pork barrel projects passed 348-73 with only 72 Republicans and Dennis Kucinich opposing wage controls and the larding up of the war bill. The war bill passed the Senate 80-14 with presidential candidates Joe Biden voting for it, Chris Dodd voting against it early, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama voting against it after it passed, and
Sam Brownback and John McCain voting for it.
UPDATE: The Senate roll call is interesting to say the least. 3 of the 14 opposing the war funding bill are Republicans Tom Coburn (Oklahoma), Richard Burr (North Carolina), and Mike Enzi (Wyoming). Sam Brownback, as usual, was a no show.