House Debates Iraq, Afghanistan Funding

The House of Representatives is expected to vote Wednesday on legislation to provide $81.3 billion to support U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is the latest of five bills President Bush has asked Congress to approve to pay for ongoing U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

All have been separate from the regular annual government budget approval process, thus they are called supplementals. President Bush originally proposed 81-point-nine-billion dollars.

This legislation contains money needed to supply U.S. troops with better body armor and upgraded vehicles, and proposes funds, although slightly less than requested, for a new U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

Most of the $1.7-billion in foreign aid will support counter-narcotics, reconstruction, and training in Afghanistan.

Among countries helping in the war on terrorism, Jordan would receive $100 million and Pakistan would get $150 million.

Most House lawmakers are likely to support the legislation based on what it contains for the U.S. military. However, some say they will vote against it, saying President Bush has failed to put forward a clear plan for Iraq and accurate estimates of war costs.

On Tuesday, opposition Democrats, such as David Obey of Wisconsin, took the opportunity to renew criticism of President Bush on war costs and other issues. "This country was mis-led into war on the basis of bad information and false information. I believe some of that was purposeful. I think our attack on Iraq is the dumbest American war since the war of 1812," he eaid.

Responding to this, Republicans such as Congressman Tom Cole said the question now is not the fact of U.S. and coalition military action to oust Saddam Hussein, but giving American troops what they need. "Are we going to provide people the resources they need to get the job done that we asked them to do. I think it is very important that we do that on a bipartisan basis, I think that will be a very powerful message in Iraq and a very powerful message around the Middle East," he said.

The House rejected an amendment that had bipartisan support, proposing to create a special congressional committee to investigate the awarding and carrying out of contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In a victory for those seeking more money for victims of conflict in Sudan, the House approved amendments to increase money in the bill for food, disaster relief, and refugee aid, for Sudan's western Darfur region.

On another matter, Congressman Frank Wolf, a Virginia Republican, argued against reducing $580 million in the bill for U.S. assistance to international peacekeeping missions, saying this would seriously affect peace efforts in Darfur and the rest of Sudan. "To take away the peacekeeping money after the Bush administration has done such a good job of bringing north-south peace, to take that away, to allow the raping and the pillaging and everything that is going on in Sudan would be morally unacceptable."

Also rejected on Tuesday was an amendment proposing to eliminate $200 million to be provided indirectly to the Palestinians.

Also included in the legislation: $656 million in relief for countries devastated by last December's tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

As part of funding for U.S. troops, the bill also authorizes an increase in the amount of money paid to families of soldiers killed on active duty, from $12,000 to $100,000.

House approval would send the bill on to the Senate which is not expected to take it up until April.

Final passage by Congress would bring total U.S. expenditures in Iraq, Afghanistan and assistance to allies in the war on terrorism since the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States to about $300 billion.

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs