War Funding Vote Likely Later Today
Updated 5:19 p.m.
By Perry Bacon Jr.
The Senate today overwhelmingly passed a bill that would fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through Sept. 30, giving congressional backing to President Obama's plan to increase troops and resources for the war in Afghanistan. The 91-5 vote sends the bill to President Obama for signing.
The $105.9 billion bill also includes $7.7 billion to prepare for a potential outbreak of a pandemic flu, an increased U.S. contribution to the International Monetary Fund and $1 billion to start the "cash for clunkers" program that will give Americans vouchers of up to $4,500 to turn in their old cars and purchase more fuel-efficient vehicles.
But the final bill also reveals congressional differences with Obama's foreign policy vision. Worried about the incarceration of detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in their districts or states, congressional Democrats joined with Republicans to strip $80 million from the bill to implement Obama's plan to close the detainee facility there. The bill allows for the movement of Guantanamo detainees to the United States solely for trials.
At the insistence of House Democrats who are opposed to increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan, the administration also will be required to submit to Congress its policy objectives in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as metrics to measure this progress, including formal reports every six months.
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