War spending bill going to White House next week
With the passage of the $124 billion supplemental spending bill in the House and the Senate, the Democratic-controlled Congress will be serving up its first piece of legislation strictly defying President Bush and set the stage for a veto some time next week.
The Senate gave final passage to the bill this afternoon, 51 to 46, along near-party lines. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) voted with the Republicans against the bill.
The final bill provides close to $100 billion in Iraq war funds that are tied to a timeline for withdrawal of combat troops next year. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) won't send the spending package to the White House until early next week, according to House and Senate aides. That means the "enrollment ceremony", where congressional leaders sign the bill and send it to the White House, will be put off until possibly Tuesday or Wednesday.
Such signings are usually pro forma and are done with little fanfare. However, because this is such an important moment in the relations between the new Congress and President Bush, Pelosi and Reid could bring in the TV cameras to turn it into a high-profile photo opportunity if they so choose. Or the bill could be privately signed by Pelosi and the president pro tempore of the Senate, Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W. Va.), and then shipped to Bush. Either way, as Capitol Briefing noted earlier this month, this sets up a veto from Bush likely to come in the middle of next week, Friday at the latest.
Last night, the House gave final approval to the compromise measure worked out with the Senate, 218 to 208, which was almost identical to last month's vote margin when the House passed its own version of the legislation. Again, Pelosi demonstrated her skill in threading the needle between conservatives in her caucus who who have strong reservations about imposing a deadline and the anti-war liberals who adamantly refuse to vote for any war funds even if they're tied to a withdrawal date.
In passing the bill last month, Pelosi lost 15 Democrats: seven moderate conservatives who voted "nay", seven liberals who voted "nay" and another liberal -- Rep. Fortney "Pete" Stark (D-Calif.) -- who voted present.
This time around, Pelosi got the exact same number of votes, 218, losing 14 of the same 15 Democrats she lost last month. Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.), who opposed the supplemental last month, joined Pelosi this time around. [A couple more "aye" votes would have pushed the total up to 220 but some Democrats were not present for health reasons.]
On the Republican side, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) lost just three votes: Reps. Walter Jones (N.C.) and Wayne Gilchrest (Md.), who voted with Pelosi last night and last month on the supplemental, and Rep. JoAnne Emerson (R-Mo.), who voted "present". Democratic aides were crowing about Emerson's present vote as a small sign of future defections from the GOP.
Check back later this afternoon for a breakdown of the Senate's final vote on the supplemental. For now, here's an ideological breakdown of the 13 Democrats who opposed the supplemental:
John Barrow (Ga.)
Dan Boren (Okla)
Lincoln Davis (Tenn.)
Jim Marshall (Ga.)
Jim Matheson (Utah)
Michael Michaud (Maine)
Gene Taylor (Miss.)
Dennis Kucinich (Ohio)
Barbara Lee (Calif.)
John Lewis (Ga.)
Maxine Waters (Calif.)
Lynn Woolsey (Calif.)
April 26, 2007; 11:56 AM ET
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