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.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs