News

US House of Representatives Approves War Funding Bill

A bill to pay for U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and help bolster Pakistan's ability to fight extremists, has been approved Tuesday by the U.S. House of Representatives in a 226 to 202 vote.   All but five Republicans opposed the $106 billion measure, and 32 Democrats voted against their party.

A product of House-Senate negotiations that resolved differences between bills each chamber's already-passed bills, the measure primarily supports military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also includes money for security forces in Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

Lawmakers also fund other foreign priorities, and a range of domestic needs, all of which drove the cost considerably above President Obama's original $91 billion request and sparked Republican complaints.

Just under $80 billion meets Pentagon needs in Iraq and Afghanistan, including preparations for the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.  President Obama set August 31, 2010 as the date all combat troops will depart, except for as many as 50,000 to advise and train the Iraqi army. 

The legislation provides $3.6 billion for counter-terrorism Coalition Support Funds to expand and improve capabilities of Afghanistan's security forces, and another $1.4 billion for economic and development aid.

Of the $2.4 billion addressing needs in Pakistan,  $707 million is to address a range of economic needs, including aid to refugees, along with support for governance and rule of law programs and education.

Plans for a new Counterinsurgency Capabilities Fund to help Pakistan's military and special forces fight extremists receive a total of $700 million.

The main target of Republican complaints was President Obama's request for $5 billion to help expand lending by the International Monetary Fund for countries grappling with the global financial crisis.

Republicans asserted that IMF lending should not be in a war bill, and also that IMF money could end up helping countries hostile to the United States.  Here is Republican minority leader John Boehner:

"We may have enough money in the U.S. to solve our economic problems, but I'll guarantee you we don't have enough money to solve the world's economic problems," said John Boehner.

Democrats including House majority leader Steny Hoyer asserted that Republicans would vote to support the IMF if the request had come from a Republican president, and urged lawmakers to vote for the bill.

"Do not delude yourself that this is not a vote to support the troops," said Steny Hoyer. "Eighty percent plus of this bill is about American servicemen and women in harm's way."

Democrat David Obey heads the House Appropriations Committee:

"What we are trying to do is to provide the president with all the tools he needs internationally to defend our economic stability and to stabilize the economy of our trading partners, because our economy does not function and we do not create sufficient jobs in this economy unless we help create economic conditions in other countries so they can buy our goods," said Obey.

All but five Republicans voted against the measure, over the IMF issue and removal of a Senate provision that would have banned the public release of photographs showing U.S. interrogators abusing terrorist detainees.

Outspoken anti-war Democrats were among 32 voting against their party among them Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich:

"We have got another $80 billion here for war, but we don't have money to keep people in their homes, because there are still 13 million Americans who are losing their homes, we don't have money for the 50 million Americans who don't have any health care, we don't have money to save jobs, we don't have money to save our steel mills and our auto plants," said Kucinich. "What we have is we have money for war."

The legislation also includes hundreds of millions of dollars in economic, humanitarian and security aid for Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza, Kenya, Somalia, southern Sudan, Zimbabwe, the Republic of Georgia, and Mexico.  It also contains food assistance, and funding for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
 
House approval sends the bill to the Senate which is expected to act on it later this week before the measure goes to President Obama for signature.  

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs