Wednesday, July 28, 2010

More in United States Congress Are Opposing War Funding

More Dems oppose new war funding

A breakdown of the 308-114 war funding vote showed that 102 Democrats opposed President Obama on war funds, an increase of 70 from last year.

By Richard Wolf and Naomi Jagoda, USA TODAY

President Obama won the battle over $33 billion in new Afghanistan and Iraq war funding, but the vote showed that he's losing support on the issue from within his own Democratic Party.

A breakdown of the 308-114 Tuesday vote showed that 102 Democrats opposed their president on war funds, an increase of 70 from last year. Included among them were the closest allies of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, members of leadership and more than half of the committee chairmen.

The vote appears to signal limited patience among Democrats for Obama's strategy in Afghanistan. That could put even more importance on his administration's planned December review of the policy.

"Going from 32 last year to 102 yesterday is a clear sign of progress and a clear indication that the days are numbered for this war," said Tom Andrews, director of Win Without War and a former House member from Maine.

The White House pushed back against that view, noting that 51 Democrats had voted against an earlier version of the 2009 bill. By the time the 2009 war funding measure came to a final vote, however, only 32 Democratic votes opposed it.

The White House also noted that Tuesday's measure had been stripped of domestic spending sought by Democrats, including aid to states and black farmers.

Even, so "there is unshaken bipartisan support for our strategy in Afghanistan," said White House assistant press secretary Tommy Vietor. "The bill passed with a strong majority, as well as a solid majority of Democrats."

Among the most notable Democrats to oppose Obama were Reps. John Larson of Connecticut, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, and 13 of 22 committee chairs, including Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey of Wisconsin, who sponsored the original bill.

Other prominent chairmen opposing Obama included Reps. Henry Waxman and George Miller of California, Louise Slaughter of New York, Barney Frank of Massachusetts, John Conyers of Michigan and James Oberstar of Minnesota.

Most members of the Congressional Black Caucus voted against the measure, as did 33 of 56 Democratic women.

On the other hand, Democrats considered most vulnerable in November elections — who tend to come from moderate districts — voted overwhelmingly for the war money. They included Reps. Tom Perriello, D-Va., and Michael Arcuri, D-N.Y.

Only 12 Republicans voted against the funding, compared with 160 who voted for it. House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio lauded their support.

"Unfortunately, congressional Democrats … chose to delay this bill in an effort to strap billions of unrelated, unnecessary spending to the backs of our troops in harm's way," he said.

The next test comes this fall, when a defense spending bill that includes another $158 billion in war funding for next year comes up for votes in Congress. The measure passed the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday by voice vote.

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