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House Approves $106B Bill to Fund Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan

By Perry Bacon Jr.
The House today passed a $106 billion bill funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through September, as House Democrats backed President Obama despite misgivings among the ranks about his strategy in Afghanistan.

The 226 to 202 vote came after Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner had called some reluctant Democrats during the day imploring them to back the bill, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had strongly pressed her colleagues in a closed-door meeting to vote for the bill in a show of support for Obama, even if they oppose his strategy for increasing troops in Afghanistan. In the end, 221 Democrats voted for the bill, while 32 opposed it.

All but five Republicans opposed the bill after the White House inserted money to fund a line of credit for the International Monetary Fund, which the GOP said amounted to a "global bailout."

"We are in the process of wrapping up the wars. The president needed our support," said Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), who had earlier said he opposed the war funding but voted for it in the end. "But the substance still sucks."

The Senate could pass the war bill later this week, although some senators are threatening to oppose a provision in the bill that provides $1 billion for the so-called "cash for clunkers" program. A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Senate has complained that the House version of that program, which gives people vouchers of up to $4,500 to trade in their old cars and buy new ones with higher fuel efficiency, does not require high enough gas mileage for the new cars purchased.

Along with the car program and the IMF funding, the $106 billion also provides $7.7 billion to combat an outbreak of pandemic flu. But Congress stripped out $80 million the administration had asked for to start the process of closing the detainee facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. And Congress added a requirement that the administration produce a report detailing American policy goals and benchmarks for success in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The vote was complicated because a group of 51 Democrats, most of whom have long pressed for complete withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq and reduced presence in Afghanistan, voted against the first version of the war spending bill in May. But most Republicans backed it, easing its passage.

This time around, with only minimal Republican support in the offing, Democrats needed to get more than a dozen of the 51 to back the funding, setting up a battle between the White House and the antiwar left.

Liberal blogs like were pressing their readers to call members and demand they stay opposed to the bill. The blogs carefully tracked the comments of the 51 throughout the last few weeks, making sure members who suggested they would back the White House were called by antiwar constituents and implored to vote against the war funding.

"We elected the Democrats in 2006 to end the wars," said Bob Fertik, co-founder of "Now is the time to act."

House Democrats had put off the vote for more than a week, looking to win support for the bill. President Obama, who had pushed to insert a provision in the bill to bar the release of photos depicting abuse of detainees held in U.S. custody abroad, demanded the Senate take out the provision to win votes from House liberals who said they would not support the war bill if the photo ban was included.

In the end, 19 House Democrats backed the bill who had opposed it the first time, although some cited loyalty, not agreement with Obama's plans, as their reason.

"I want to support my president," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who changed her no vote to a yes.

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 16, 2009; 7:10 PM ET
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$4500 on a trade in? Who has the Obama named as his Clunker Czar? This will make 17.

Posted by: Tupac_Goldstein | June 16, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Amazingly, the Dems could not get a bill passed paying for war. Is this not the group that wants to end all wars.
They control/own the House, Senate and White House but still can find enough votes to fight a war.

What does that tell ya?

Posted by: robinhood2 | June 16, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Another promise, that Obama has not kept. Why would you insert more monies for the global fund in the war spending bill. Most economists continue to inform Obama, that the dollar will be worth anything, soon.He has spent more money than any President in history recently. We cannot continue this spending. The idiots in Congress will go along with any President, since they want their pet projects approved one day. It is all about a political favors at taxpayer's expense. VOTE THEM OUT AND GET PEOPLE WITH BALLS.

Posted by: mimiknight | June 16, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Jan Schakowsky votes for the war that Americans voted to end.
Why? She wants to "support my president".

She sounds like someone in grade school.

What she wants is war.
What Obama wants is war.

Posted by: lennyjazz | June 16, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it great getting stabbed in the back by our illustrious Congress day after day? Gotta bail out those foreign banks (and let California go bankrupt)! Gotta buy some more useless obsolete military hardware for the "defense" (i.e., war) industry's pork barrelists! Gotta send more people off to kill and be killed for no good reason and for an indeterminate period of time since no one has a plan for ending any wars or leaving any war zones behind. Isn't it great having a third Cheney-Bush term?? More torture! More secrecy! More war! More killing! More dying! More bailouts for the ultra-wealthy! And NO HEALTH CARE REFORM EVER! As long as the corporate lobbyists keep those bribes - I mean "campaign contributions" - rolling in, it will be business as usual inside the Beltway...

Posted by: mgloraine | June 16, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

$7.7 Billion for a flu pandemic in which only 219 people have died worldwide to date in 2009.
3000 people PER DAY die in auto accidents!
$7.7 billion for the kleenex lobby and 0 for California.
105 billion of the IMF (ya mean an additonal 50 billion for Paksitan and 50 billion for Afghanistan) and O for California.
Thus is nuts!
Senators Boxer and Feinstein should vote (hell) NO.

Posted by: HereComesTheJudge | June 16, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Whether Congress votes to fund the military in Iraq and Afghanistan has very little effect on whether American service members are there. Without the money, the people are still there, they just don't have as much of the stuff they need to actually succeed. The dearth of these necessities only increases the chances of injury or death, it doesn't hasten the return of deployed forces. It would it be nice if people stopped tossing pet projects into items of legislation intended and needed to keep American men and women, all of whom are volunteers, as safe as possible in a dirty and dangerous place. But that's just wishful thinking.

Posted by: meggiembar | June 16, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Was this the Hussein you voted for Comrades?
How's that "Change"?

Posted by: ANTILIB | June 16, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Obama lied. Americans. as well as Paki and Afghan kids and moms, are dying. Making more terrorists, one at a time. Obama lied.

Posted by: georgejones5 | June 16, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

More betrayal from Obama and Pelosi. Obama ran on the promise that he would get the US out of Iraq. He is a liar. Pelosi was always a lying greedy powermad harpy.

The democrats are as bad as the republicans. Both parties are completely corrupt and deserve to go down.

May Americans find inspiration in the courage of the Iranians!

Posted by: mtnmanvt | June 16, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

News Flash!!!
George W. Bush wins unprecedented, virtual,third term... channeled, of course, by stand-in President Obama and a cowardly, Democratic Congress. Let us not hear one more word about how we could not possibly pay for single payer health insurance.

Posted by: Souffiere7 | June 16, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone in Israel ever going to thank us for all the $$$ we shell out in this ridiculous religous war the Zionists dragged U.S. into?

I know we are just slaves to them, but even a slave deserves a pat on the back occasionally.

Posted by: torro67 | June 16, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

$7.7 billion for Swine Flu? Who's getting that?

Rummy's company pulled down about $4 billion to stockpile worthless vaccine for the last pandemic... you know, the Bird Flu.

What a fraud.

MODERATOR, what's with all the off point comments, anyhow? Don't you know how to run a forum?

Posted by: EndTheSpin | June 16, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

When is our government-President Obama and the Congress, going to realize that the US can no longer afford our "democracy building" exercise in Iraq or whatever it is we are doing in Afghanistan.{Are we still looking for Osama?]
Like many of those who voted for Obama I am disgusted by his failure to keep his promises regarding Iraq. He is just a celebrity and little different than George Bush in terms of foreign policy. I have been very careful what I say in comments on Washington Post stories since I have been "censored" on several occasions.
However, I live in Beijing and am accustomed to censorship.

Posted by: jimeglrd8 | June 16, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

How come Obama hasn't gotten Osama bin Ladin yet? We still haven't gotten Osama bin Ladin. Obama said he was going to shift priorities to where the "real" Al-Qaeda is. Why hasn't Obama produced any meaningful results yet?

Posted by: get_it_right | June 16, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Well you can't blame anyone else now when you control the House, Senate and White House. So who lied now? Was it Bush for being overzealous on WMD or the Democrats for saying their against the war then voting to fund it? One can at least get the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: Digitalman08 | June 16, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Whether out of ignorance or sanguinity, Anthony Weiner (R-N.Y.) said, "We are in the process of wrapping up the wars." We should be so lucky! The war has only just begun. We need to increase military spending to 40% of GDP ASAP. The rising unemployment rate and closing job market implies that a deluge of military enlistments with the promise of "Three Hots and a Cot" is imminent. Whether we like it or not, we're in the "Red Queen's Race" and, for the moment, we are "A slow sort of country!" "[If] it takes all the running you can do, just to keep in the same place, then to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!" Above all else we must not forget that "People respond to strength with admiration and respect; they respond to weakness with strength." Therefore it makes a great deal of sense to be strong. At this time, in our history, more than ever.
Steve Savage "King of the Beasts"

Posted by: SteveSavage | June 16, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

we do not have much time left to act before we are not allowed to act.the chicago thugs have a lot more planned for us than socialized med.
independence day is upon us,but are we as strong as those brave iranians? how many will sit on their butts this fourth of july,and let better people protest,while in their complacency,they are as guilty for the downfall of our nation,as these thug politicians. the fourth of july is a day we as americans have a chance to once again make history,and i will be proud to stand beside any man woman or child who loves this country. we stand together,or we all go down.tea party till you drop!!!!

Posted by: silusdogood | June 16, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

i faxed a lotta congress charlatans -

...600 billion to fund F22's and a no stop production clause with provisions to Make and Market an F22A to foreign markets... predatory capitalism.

The House, The Senate, The Executive Branch reek - the stench of lying thieves copulating with each others rapacious virulent corporation to drain each other and America; to fill their portfolios and coffers. There is no Sanity in funding this debacle, this travesty against humanity.
i despise Treasonous Pelosi, and Oatmeal Reid and Insurance agent Baucus... and all who have passed this continued illegal occupation.

Posted by: Darwin26 | June 16, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

"Yes We Can"---LOL

Posted by: dashriprock | June 16, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

After signing the stimulus bill Obama promised to veto any future spending bills that contain "earmarks" or that increase the deficit. Does that mean he will veto the war funding and health care bills? I am amazed that Americans continue to "approve/like" a president that has lied again and again about what he will do. Does anyone feel confident about what is happening to America?

I sure don't -- hope to see most of you at an American Tea Party. I'll be in Peoria, IL for the 4th and am curious how DC antics are "playing in Peoria."

Posted by: AZgrandma | June 16, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I can't even express how deeply disturbed I am to hear that lawmakers are basing their votes on "going along with the president".

Wow, what a fantastically brilliant idea! Perhaps all of the lawmakers should just go along with whatever the president wants! To hell which checks and balances! Who needs free thought anyway! Let's just elect one guy that we believe is really smart and then do whatever he THAT sounds like a good political system, don't you think???

Oh wait....that's been tried before, hasn't it???

Posted by: sw11231 | June 16, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Pass the pork! Remember, national health care is too expensive and social security won't receive a cost of living adjustment. If Congress doesn't get a cut neither do we. God only knows how much bailout money is going into the pockets of corporate CEOs, notwithstanding accountability for the fed. Just remember, when it's election time, our elected officials have us first in mind when it comes to legislation. So what is the military really doing with all this money, how much is the black budget, and what are they really preparing for? Isn't there a lot of digging going on? Would appear there's more than nuclear waste going into those caverns.

Posted by: neddelaney | June 16, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

We all need to keep in mind that funding these wars with billions of our tax dollars is more important than creating jobs for our own people, more important than health care for our own people, more important than education for our own children,no matter how bad things get here these wars must go on and on and on and on and.....I wonder when WE THE PEOPLE will at last say enough and take to the streets by the thousands in protest.I guess we just dont have the guts or the will to stop the madness.106 billion down the drain while we all suffer and do without.Shamefull!!!

Posted by: smorrow | June 17, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

I would like a definite update on strategy and policy re our military activities in both Iraq and Afganistan from the Administration. Of course Obama lies --- he lies so much that he no longer knows truth.

Interestingly, the $4,500 special tax break on car trade-ins just might be a big trigger for getting the economy going again. Maybe not GM or Chrysler/Fiat, but the car market in general would benefit.

Posted by: ohenry1 | June 17, 2009 12:43 AM | Report abuse

I've got an old car that I would have to pay someone to take. So now the government wants to give me $4500! Finally a stimulus I can believe in. I could take the $4500 and buy even more clunkers out of the junk yard. They must think that I will eventually get rich and have to pay it all back in taxes.

Posted by: dnewton1 | June 17, 2009 1:50 AM | Report abuse

Wonder how Pelosi will try to soft-sell this stupidity when it comes back to haunt her.
You are supposed to represent the people who elect you, not your celebsident, Obama.

It's getting harder and harder to tell Democrats from Republicans, and Obama from Bush.

Posted by: aphor | June 17, 2009 7:13 AM | Report abuse

"Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had strongly pressed her colleagues in a closed-door meeting to vote for the bill in a show of support for Obama..."

This is what we get for rewarding her abrogating her sworn duty to protect and defend the Constitution when she proclaimed impeachment was off the table for crass political purposes. This is what we get for voting for Democrats who are up to their necks complicit in these war crimes and illegal domestic surveillance.

Impeach Pelosi first.

Posted by: dgblues | June 17, 2009 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Well, guys, this is not fun for these families OF SERVICE MEN AND WOMEN and its just the beginning because the rest of the world knows we are not a threat...
another promise he has no idea how to fulfill ....maybe he just doent have time because of his photo and TV ops.....glamour magazine may hire him


Posted by: barbiek1 | June 17, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

We need to get our brave men and women out of Iraq NOW! We are making them sitting ducks in the cities after June 30th -- especially Baghdad. The situation is very bad.

Posted by: Kathy8 | June 17, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

The ploys, politics and treachery employed by the White House seem to never end. A president who ran as the president against the Bush War in Iraq as he called it, now seeks $106 billion to continue the effort in Iraq and expand the effort in Afghanistan. I suppose he believes that it is easier and less costly to fight the terrorist in that nation rather than in Iraq! This is another charade my friends. And all the while, Obama is rushing unopposed to move us to a socialstic style state. Where the government completely controls everyone's life. Obama Motors.The First National Bank of Obama. The Obama Insurance Company. The Obama HMO. The Obama Tobacco Co. Is no one afraid of what they are witnessing? Suerly the Obama, Mom and Pop corner store cannot be far away. Change America needs! A $760 billion stimulus plan the vice president admitted on public TV has failed. Is it finally time to urge your Congressmen to stop supporting the Obama vision for America? Or do you plan to wait until you no longer have even that right!

Posted by: democracylost | June 17, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

""I want to support my president," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who changed her no vote to a yes."

Now where where the patriots two years ago?

Posted by: GaryEMasters | June 17, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

"What she wants is war.
What Obama wants is war."

Nobody can believe that. What they want to do is stop the war by a process called winning.

The false dichotomy was either stop the war or continue it forever. The real choice was to win the war or to lose it.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | June 17, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Where my forty-five honerd, at???

Posted by: demtse | June 17, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Where my forty-five honerd, at??? Nie y'all owe me about 7500 hunerd mo'... Thats my share in financing Bush war on terr'r...

Posted by: demtse | June 17, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

With the broken promises of Obama concerning getting the US out of Iraq is their a Republican who can unite the anti war factions with the remaining base of the Republican Party. Perhaps someone who will simply say sorry. We can't afford foreign wars anymore. Lets reduce wasteful government spending and spend the money we have been spending on Iraq and Afghainstan here in America.

Posted by: jimeglrd8 | June 17, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

The post-2006 Democratic Congress was instructive enough to anyone who was paying attention as to what one could expect from a Democratic president. They were elected to end the war in Iraq. Instead, that war continues, the war in Afghanistan has been expanded, and now we are in Pakistan also.

I voted for Cynthia McKinney. The foregoing is but one reason why.

Posted by: DonDeBar | June 17, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

The Borgen Project has some good info on the cost of addressing global poverty.

$30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.
$550 billion: U.S. Defense budget

Posted by: atsegga | June 17, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

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