Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Democrats Jump the Shark on Iraq

The House passed the 'suggested surrender' bill today by a vote of 218-208. Voting no were 13 Democrats; voting yes were 2 Republicans.

I'm told that the bill included these national security/war on terror emergency items:

  • $1.85 billion for crop production losses
  • $1.4 billion for livestock production losses
  • $20 million for Dairy Production Losses
  • $33 million for Livestock Indemnity Program
  • $21 million for emergency grants to low-income migrant and seasonal farm workers
  • $20 million for emergency conservation program
  • $115 million for the conservation security program
  • $18 million for drought assistance in upper Great Plains/South West
  • $31 million for one month extension of Milk Income Loss Contract program (MILC) – (this will have the effect of increasing farm spending by $2.4 billion over the next ten years by building it into the CBO baseline budget for the farm bill)
  • $60.4 million for salmon fisheries in the Klamath Basin region
  • $12 million for forest service money
  • $67.5 million for Salaries and Expenses for Farm Service Agency
  • $425 million for education grants for rural areas
  • $400 million for LIHEAP
  • $50 million for asbestos abatement at the Capitol Power Plant
  • $682.9 million for funding for backlog of old Department of Transportation projects (higher than the $389 million provided in the Senate; House provided no funding)
  • $500 million for wildland fire management
  • $13 million for mine safety technology research
  • $10 million for historic preservation fund
  • $35 million for NASA risk mitigation projects in Gulf Coast

We've talked at length about the kabuki aspect of this. We know it will be vetoed. The next question is what the House does now.

It's important to recognize the tough straits that Pelosi, Hoyer, Obey, Murtha et al find themselves in. With two vacant seats in the House, 218 votes represents just more than a bare majority. The Democrat leadership probably can't afford to lose more than 1 vote for the next funding bill. But with the Out of Iraq caucus having held its collective tongue and voted for a bill they thought did not go far enough, what will they do on the next one - which won't be as 'tough' as this?

Unless the House Democratic leadership turns to a clean funding bill with massive GOP support, it's hard to conceive of a measure that will get 217 votes.

So for the near term, this is as good as it gets for Congressional Democrats. This measure will pass the Senate and get vetoed. And as it starts to become undeniable that the troops are being hurt by a failure to pass a funding bill, the Congressional leadership will resort to parliamentary tricks and sleight of hand to deliver funding for the war. Or, they'll need to cut it off.

Update: Read Hot Air as well.

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