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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora