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House Passes Emergency Spending Bill to Continue Funding Iraq, Afghanistan Occupation

Wednesday 28 July 2010

by: Jason Leopold, t r u t h o u t | Report

A treasure trove of classified documents released Sunday by Wikileaks that sheds new light on the catastrophic failure of the nine-year war in Afghanistan did not derail congressional efforts Tuesday to pass a $37 billion emergency supplmental bill to continue funding the occupation.
The House passed the spending package by a vote of 308-114. The money will be used to fund the troop surge in Afghanistan President Obama announced in a speech at West Point last December and the ongoing occupation of Iraq. The cost of both wars have surpassed $1 trillion and have claimed the lives of 5,620 US soldiers and hundreds of thousands of civilans.
However, the number of Democrats who voted against the supplemental spending bill--102--nearly quadrupled, indicating that the raw intelligence reports released by Wikileaks may have had some impact on the final vote. Voting in favor of the bill were 148 Democrats and 160 Republicans. Twelve Democrats voted "no." [The roll call can be found here.]
Congressman Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts) said lawmakers should have not voted on the spending bill "until we some questions answered" and "there is a full airing of all the" revelations in the Wikileaks documents.
“It is a mistake to give this administration yet another blank check for this war,” McGovern said.
At his weekly press briefing Monday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) said funding the troops and debating the war strategy are two separate issues.
“The supplemental deals with funding those troops we have in the field now. Those troops are there now ... they have a mission. I think the president of the United States made a mission that is a doable mission,” Hoyer said. ”Now, we may want to reconsider that in a new Congress. The administration may want to reconsider that and [have a] debate about it. But the fact is, those troops are there now, and the money, as we have been told by the Pentagon, will be depleted as of the seventh of August.”
Bloomberg reported that attempts by war critics to insert amendments into the supplemental bill "targeting Obama's Afghanistan policies" failed to win support after Obama threatened to veto a bill that contained any provision he said would weaken his commander-in-chief powers.


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