Day by Day

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Iraq Vote

Today, as the Democrat leadership has long promised, the US House of Representatives held a vote on the continued funding of the Armed Forces during this war against Islamo-fascism.

No doubt, you've heard by now the result. You can see how your representative voted here.

Perhaps, you'd like to exercise a passing familiarity with the representing that your Representatives have been doing. You can read the entire bill.

I want to let you know that what happened today hurts the troops. It's surprising, but the military needs money. Lots of it. Soon. The bill today had a lot of that money in it (not all of it, mind you, but a good start.)

Let's take a step here, and remove ourselves from whether or not the House should have voted to give a deadline for withdrawal. There are plenty of columnists, talking heads, and bloggers like myself who will discuss that into the ground. Fact is, whichever way your opinion goes on that, no one is likely to budge it even a smidgen.

However, everyone - Republicans, Democrats, Liberals, Conservatives, and excepting a few folks who've gotten carried away - says they "Support the Troops".

This bill, amongst other things (including the Minimum Wage, surprisingly enough), provided funding to Support the Troops. There are no other bills in the House that have that goal.

This bill is also loaded with enough items, whether it's non-related funding directives (aka "pork"), or the aforementioned mandated timetable for withdrawal, that it faces a guaranteed VETO from the President.

In other words, no money for the troops at all.

The Army has already indicated that it will need to extend tours, reduce training, and other cost-cutting measures will be implemented, to weather the funding shortfall.

The Democrat leadership tried to do it all. Tried to cover the wide base of their party, and ultimately, failed. Even members of their own party voted against the bill because they didn't like what was in it (or rather, what was missing - they wanted it to end the war now). Thus, they guaranteed not having enough votes to survive a VETO threat.

What should they have done? If they truly take America first, and Support the Troops? Politics aside? Propose, and quickly pass, a bill that is strictly military funding - what the troops asked for - and nothing else.

Separately, have the vote for the early withdrawal. You campaigned on it, so vote on it. But, don't tie plans for a withdrawal next year to money the troops need right now.

And, as long as we're talking about doing it right, lets not tie other things into a military appropriations bill that have nothing to do with the military. It's called Pork, and while it IS a time-honored tradition in Congress, we can always hope.

A friend sent this along to me:

What Democrats Could Have Funded:

Listed below are programs and equipment that could be purchased and delivered sooner than planned if they were funded in the Democratic War Supplemental for Fiscal year 2007.

• $4.75 billion: Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (USMC & Army)
• $2.6 billion: Aircraft Recapitalization and Modernization (Air Force)
• $1.84 billion: Medium Tactical Vehicles, such as 5-Ton Trucks (Army)
• $775.1 million: STRYKER Combat Vehicles and Armor Upgrades (Army)
• $452.2 million: Upgrade 3 Patriot Anti-Missile Battalions (Army)
• $324.2 million: Heavy Tactical Trucks, such as 10-Ton Tractor-Trailers (Army)
• $250 million: Force Protection Equipment (Air Force)
• $207.4 million: Aircraft/Helicopter Survivability Equipment (Army)
• $187.2 million: Javelin Portable Anti-Tank Missile (Army)
• $152.9 million: Counter-IED Systems (Army)
• $33 million: Night Vision Equipment (Army)
• $24 million: Combat Search and Rescue Capability Enhancement (Air Force)
• $10 million: Electronic Attack Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (USMC)
• $9 million: Joint IED Defeat Sustainment (Navy)

Additional Cuts:

• Combating Violent Militias. House Democrats strip $155.5 million from the military effort to disarm and demobilize violent militias. Since no alternative exists to combat violent militias, armed groups will be left to roam the streets of Baghdad and civil unrest will continue. This senseless funding cut would undermine the U.S. military effort in Iraq and endanger U.S. troops.

• Combatant Commander Initiative Fund. House Democrats cut $25 million from the Combatant Commander Initiative Fund, which will deny military commanders a valuable regional engagement tool for “building partner nation capacity” in the Global War on Terrorism.

Defense Security Cooperation Agency. House Democrats cut $350 million from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which would harm America’s ability to build foreign capacity to counter instability and security problems.

• Special Operations Command. House Democrats cut $14 million from the Special Operations Command, limiting one of the most engaged forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as one of the most effective forces outside of Iraq and Afghanistan in support of the Global War on Terrorism and regional stability.

• IED Counter-Measures. House Democrats cut $13.25 million for Warlock electronic jammers and $27.63 million for the Army’s Soldier Support and Survivability System.

• Helicopters. House Democrats cut $90 million for three additional CH-47 helicopter airframes, denying the Army three Chinook helicopters. House Democrats also cut $75 million for UH-60’s, denying the Army five Blackhawk helicopters.

• Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. House Democrats cut $31.5 million for unmanned aerial vehicles, which are vital force protection equipment and effective counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism tools.

What Democrats Chose to Fund Instead:

• Peanut Storage Subsidies: Provides $74 million to extend peanut storage payments through 2007. The Peanut Subsidy Storage program, which is set to expire this year, pays farmers for the storage, handling, and other costs for peanuts voluntarily placed in the marketing loan program.
• Spinach: Provides $25 million for payments to spinach producers that were unable to market spinach crops as a result of the FDA Public Health Advisory issued on September 14, 2006.
• Shrimp: Provides $120 million to the shrimp industry for expenses related to the consequences of Hurricane Katrina.
• Frozen Farmland: Provides $20 million for the cleanup and restoration of farmland damaged by freezing temperatures during a time period beginning on January 1, 2007 through the date of enactment.
• Hurricane Citrus Program: Provides $100 million to provide assistance to citrus producers (such as orange producers) in the area declared a disaster related to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
• HUD Indian Housing: Provides $80 million in tenant-based rental assistance for public and Indian housing under HUD.
• Crop Disaster Assistance: Provides roughly $3 billion in agriculture assistance to crop producers and livestock owners experiencing losses in 2005, 2006, or 2007 due to bad weather.
• Payment to Widow of Rep. Norwood: Provides $165,200 to Gloria W. Norwood, the widow of former Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA), an RSC Member, who passed away last month. In the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2005 (H.R. 1268), Congress provided $162,100 to Doris Matsui, the widow of former Rep. Robert Matsui.
• Capitol Power Plant: Provides $50 million to the Capitol Power Plant for asbestos abatement and safety improvements.
• Liberia: Provides that money appropriated for FY 2007 for the Bilateral Economic Assistance program at the Department of Treasury may be used to assist Liberia in retiring its debt arrearages to the International Monetary Fund, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the African Development Bank.
• Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) Program: Provides $283 million for payments under the MILC program, to extend the life of the program for one year, through September 30, 2008. MILC provides payments to dairy farmers when milk prices fall below a certain rate.
• Aquaculture Operations: Provides $5 million for payments to “aquaculture operations and other persons in the U.S. engaged in the business of breeding, rearing, or transporting live fish” (such as shellfish, oysters and clams) to cover economic losses incurred as a result of an emergency order issued by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on October 24, 2006.
• FDA Office of Women’s Health: Provides $4 million for the Office of Women’s Health at the Food and Drug Administration.
• National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): Provides $60.4 million for fishing communities, Indian tribes, individuals, small businesses, including fishermen, fish processors, and related businesses for assistance related to “the commercial fishery failure.” According to the Committee Report, this funding is to be used to provide disaster relief for those along the California and Oregon coast affected by the “2006 salmon fishery disaster in the Klamath River.”
• Avian Flu: Provides $969 million for the Department of HHS to continue to prepare and respond to an avian flu pandemic. Of this funding, $870 million is to be used for the development of vaccines.
• Secure Rural Schools Act (Forest County Payments): Provides $400 million to be used for one-time payments to be allocated to states under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000. This program provides a funding stream (known as forest county payments) to counties with large amounts of Bureau of Land Management land, in order to compensate for the loss of receipt-sharing payments on this land caused by decreased revenue from timber sales due to environmental protections for endangered species. The authorization for these forest county payments expired at the end of FY 2006, and counties received their last payment under the Act in December 2006.
• NASA: Provides $35 million to NASA, under the “exploration capabilities” account, for “expenses related to the consequences of Hurricane Katrina.”
• Corps of Engineers: Provides $1.3 billion to Corps of Engineers for continued repairs on the levee system in New Orleans.
• FEMA: Provides $4.3 billion for disaster relief at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The bill would eliminate the state and local matching requirements for certain FEMA assistance (in connection with Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma, and Dennis) in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Florida, and provides that the federal portion of these costs will be 100%.
• LIHEAP: Provides $400 million for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
• Vaccine Compensation: Provides $50 million to compensate individuals for injuries caused by the H5N1 vaccine, which is a flu vaccine.
• SCHIP: Provides $750 million to the Secretary of HHS to provide assistance to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) “shortfall states,”, in the form of an amount “as the Secretary determines will eliminate the estimated shortfall.” This provision is direct spending that is essentially capped at $750 million and designated as an emergency to avoid PAYGO constraints.
• Minimum Wage Increase: Increases the federal minimum wage from $5.15-per-hour to $7.25-per-hour over two-plus years—a 41% increase. Yields $16.5 billion in private-sector costs over five years.
• Tax Increases and Shifts: Implements several tax increases and shifts, including: denying the lowest maximum capital gains tax rate for certain minors and adults, extending the suspension of interest payments due to the IRS, and adjusting the deadlines for corporate estimated tax payments. Costs taxpayers $1.380 billion over the FY2007-FY2017 period.


Mary*Ann said...

Trying to come up with a "civil" comment on this. (The first thing that comes to mind is shame on them.) While some worry about national defense...and the support of those who provide it...for the Democrats, it's politics as ususal.

MissBirdlegs in AL said...

My comment on this isn't printable (at least for me)!