While the House leadership was sharply critical of recent reports by General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, it now appears ready to give President Bush an additional $172 billion in war funding.
Here's what we know about what they plan to bring up for a vote:
1) On top of the $102 billion requested by the Bush administration, the Democratic Party leadership is proposing to offer an unsolicited, additional $70 billion to cover the first quarter war funding for FY2009. In other words, this will be a whopping $172 billion!
2) This funding will cover the rest of this fiscal year, which runs to Sept. 30th, and go well into the next fiscal and calendar years. This means this would be the last supplemental appropriation voted on before the November elections. If passed, this funding will also carry over into the next presidency and the new Congress.
3) There is speculation that the House version of the funding bill will be "clean" and not have any other items attached to it. If this happens there would be a straight up-or-down vote before it moves to the Senate where additional spending is likely to be added.
4) According to the Democratic leadership, this unconscionable allocation of $172 billion is an attempt to avoid a presidential veto. However, President Bush has promised to veto any war funding bill that exceeds $108 billion dollars.
It appears that the decision to vote on such a massive allocation of new funds now is based on the desire to remove the funding issue from the electoral calendar, allowing Congress to shirk accountability for continuing to fund the occupation and failing to end it. As the country heads into the elections, we believe that every senator and representative should stand up and be counted on the question of this war and how they intend to stop it. What the House leadership is doing is outrageous! Their proposed funding will ensure the Bush administration's ability to continue to execute the war and occupation in Iraq without any congressional challenge, not even a debate. Before it's too late, we urge you to place two critical phone calls:
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at 202-225-0100
Chair of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee John Murtha at 202-225-2847
Another blank check of $172 billion for this war is totally unacceptable. The Congress needs to act now to bring the troops home! The people of this country -- the voters of this country -- want the war to end!
While you support efforts to protect those hit hard by the recession, the most direct way to do this would be to stop sinking billions more of our tax dollars into war and redirecting it toward providing for real safety and security -- jobs, healthcare, education, civil infrastructure, etc.
Thank you for your critical efforts in keeping the pressure on.