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.
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.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs