Ellison, 31 other House Dems vote ‘no’ on war funding

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Minnesota’s 5th District Rep. Keith Ellison and 31 other House Democrats went against the majority of their party today in voting “no” to funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The bill does not represent a sufficient departure from previous policies which landed our country in this difficult situation in Iraq in the first place,” Ellison said. “The bill does not go far or fast enough in ending our involvement in Iraq and creates an open-ended military commitment in Afghanistan.”

The $105.9 billion measure, which would mainly go to fund U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through September, narrowly passed the House 226 to 202. To achieve passage, House leadership and the administration had to work hard behind the scenes to rein in as many Democratic votes as possible.

A majority of Republicans, including Minnesota Reps. John Kline, Erik Paulsen, and Michele Bachmann, also voted against the measure. The major point of contention for Republicans, however, was the inclusion of $5 billion for an International Monetary Fund. The IMF, as it is called, would make funds accessible to other countries with the aim of stimulating the world economy.

But, Republicans have argued that the fund essentially amounts to a bailout on the global level and could end up in the wrong hands.

In addition to the IMF money, the legislation also includes $79.9 billion for military funding, $7.7 billion for flu pandemic preparations and $1 billion for the cash-for-clunkers program.

Minnesota Democratic Reps. Tim Walz, Betty McCollum, Collin Peterson and Jim Oberstar voted in favor of the provision.
Oberstar had previously joined Progressive Democrats last month in voting against the measure.

According to Oberstar spokesman John Schadl, the vote was meant to show Oberstar’s objection to the war spending not being included in the budget. On the official vote, however, Oberstar voted in favor of the measure “to support the troops,” Schadl said.

The Senate is expected to take up the supplemental funding bill this week.

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 06/17/2009 - 08:28 pm.

    “Support the troops” is a phrase used as emotional blackmail to get people to support illegal wars. The best way to “support the troops” is to get them out of a war that seems to have constantly moving goalposts and that has gotten thousands of fine young people killed. It’s beginning to look an awful lot like Vietnam, with government officials taking the disastrous LBJ route of staying the course out of macho pride rather than any logical purpose.

  2. Submitted by William Pappas on 06/18/2009 - 09:50 am.

    For the first time in my life I agree with Kline and Bachmann. Approving 5 billion for the IMF is simply bailout money for American multinational corporations. The IMF and the World Bank, in no way, contribute to world security. In fact they are one of the more destablizing economic influences ever perpetrated on the face of the earth. Think Imperialism and making the world safe for Exploitation Capitalism when you hear of either the World Bank or IMF.
    I’m glad to see at least a large opposition to the absolutely doomed to failure policies of Obama in Afghanistan. I believe we are only beginning to see the tip of the iceberg of political destabliziation in the entire region if the US/Afghan/Pakistan/Taliban war is allowed to be fought in this manner. Deny funding for these wars.

  3. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 06/18/2009 - 01:19 pm.

    Amen, Mr. Pappas. Makes me wonder how many “terrorists” we recruit every time a drone is targeted at a house in which a bad guy is said by intelligence agencies to be hiding turns out to hold, oops! — civilians, families, children, old people.

    The War on Terror, like the War on Drugs that has put hundreds of thousands of marijuana smokers into prisons filled with real criminals, needs to be rethought. Would not foreign aid and trade opportunities produce better results, for instance?

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