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Disillusioned Obey to oppose Afghan funding bill

By Ben Pershing
Retiring Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.) will vote against a bill to fund military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq Tuesday afternoon, an usual step for an Appropriations Committee chairman and a sign of how disillusioned Obey has become with the Afghan war effort and with the Obama administration's priorities.

In one of the last acts of his four-decade congressional career, Obey said on the House floor Tuesday: "I have a double, and conflicting, obligation. As chairman, I have the obligation to bring this supplemental before the House to allow the institution to work its will. But I also have the obligation to my conscience to indicate - by my individual vote - my profound skepticism that this action will accomplish much more than to serve as a recruiting incentive for those who most want to do us ill."

Obey has become increasingly critical in recent years of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, arguing against throwing billions more dollars into the venture and in favor of hastening plans for a troop withdrawal, largely because he considers the Afghan government an uncertain and ineffective partner.

"Even if we could have greater confidence in that government's capacity, it would likely take so long that it will obliterate our ability to make the kinds of long term investments in our own country that are so desperately needed," Obey said.

Obey has been a strong advocate of adding $10 billion in emergency funds to the war supplemental bill, money that would be sent to states to prevent layoffs of teachers and school administrators. Obey put that money in the original House bill along with a proposed $500 million cut in Obama's signature Race to the Top education initiative, angering the White House and drawing a veto threat.

The Senate stripped that extra funding from the bill before passage, putting House Democrats in a difficult position. The House could still decide to move the education money in a separate measure this week before it leaves for August recess.

For Obey, the supplemental bill's journey has been a depressing chapter of his last year in office.

"What's happened with this bill is a good indication of the tensions and the false choices that we face," he said.

By Ben Pershing  |  July 27, 2010; 11:44 AM ET
Categories:  Capitol Briefing  | Tags: afghanistan supplemental, david obey  
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Comments

continual war....
Ten years?????
how stupid are republicans?
how stupid are democrats?
how gullible are our soldiers?
our youth being wasted in poppy fields
and early graves...
Thanks, Mr. Obey....

Posted by: simonsays1 | August 3, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

It's one thing to oppose the war in Afganistan, but after you've sent thousands of troops there risking their lives to do a job, you don't jerk the rug out from under them buy cutting the funds that support them!
Oh, yes you do if you're a self-serving Democrat!

Posted by: TexRancher | July 28, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

@thestoryplease: There IS no third party. There are the Republicans, the Tea Party Republicans, the No-government Libertarians that somehow have a party, and the Democrats. Out of these, the only ones worth their salt are the left wing of Democratic Party. I'd get rid of them all except for the left wing and Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Socialist from Vermont. The rest are just clowns, parasites or both.

Posted by: blosmurph | July 28, 2010 1:33 AM | Report abuse

Well, we have the Democrats, the Republicans, the Independents, and the Tea Baggers. But, in reality, who do we have to vote for that represents our values, our America? Obama is disappointing more with every new issue. He is beginning to look more like a Republican. Part of this is his PR team. Part of this comes out of his mouth and signature.

It is hard to know when to fold your cards and walk away, especially when they aren't your cards. When I heard that we have lost $300 billion in the war, I knew it was time to find a way to walk away. Now, we have a $30 billion give-away just signed for the "war". I have never seen so much money thrown away, without any sense of responsibility or accountability to the American public. I am done.

Done with the wars that I never supported. Done with the illegal aliens. Done with throwing oil all over our beautiful Gulf of Mexico. Done with throwing money at banks and corporations. I'm sure I've missed a few. I'm done. No more. NADA.

So, I guess we need to find a new leader to support, because this isn't going any where. He's better than Bush, and probably better than any Republican; but he's not good enough. I've stood by him through everything, until the last three months. But now I'm done. Let's find someone new.

Posted by: Jo5311 | July 27, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

"How dumb does the white house Americans are?" I don't know. Maybe, dumb enough to vote two dubiously principled warmonger oilmen into the the two high offices in the country. Maybe, dumb enough to follow them into two really silly wars highly injurious to the country but highly remunerative to their friends. Maybe, dumb enough to re-elect these same two torture-loving clowns. Maybe dumb enough to vote their allies and apologists back into power?

Why in the world would the current resident of the White House think Americans are dumb? Why would you present such a hypothesis? Do you think Americans are dumb?

No! Americans aren't dumb, certainly not! We're just very good at voting very stupidly, like you're threatening to do.

Posted by: LoathVulpineVomit | July 27, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to see one of the few sane members of government retiring. It must be very frustrating to see clearly how government has been dragging this country down through war and misappropriation of our economic wealth and have your voice ignored.
I supported Obama during his campaign. I do not support him now and the only reason I will vote for him is if the Republicans, at least as crazy as the Democrats, run Sarah Palin. Otherwise I'm voting 3rd party.
Disgusted with our government

Posted by: thestoryplease | July 27, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

David Obey has the right idea but would he have had the courage to vote his convictions were he running for re-election?

Probably not.

In theory our elected representatives vote for the correct course of action regardless of the consequences

The tragic consequence of this failed ideal is what we have currently in Congress charting our future course.

Old Abe had wrapped it up in a couple of sentences. I'm citing this from memory, so this is not a direct quote but is pretty close.

"My fellow Americans we can not escape history. What we do here today will light us in honor or dishonor."

Two sentences, and Lincoln said it all.

Posted by: chamateddy | July 27, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

"Obey put that money in the original House bill along with a proposed $500 million cut in Obama's signature Race to the Top education initiative, angering the White House and drawing a veto threat". Why should white house be upset. They recently sent $500 million to Pakistan. Secretary of State Clinton said this was to "jumpstart Pakistans's moribund economy". Apparently Pakistan's economy is more important than the Race to the Top Education initiative. How dumb does the white house think Americans are? They continually degrade the intelligence of American citizens. Well, we are angry, tired and getting to be revengful(especially at he voting booths).

Posted by: baz987 | July 27, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

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