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.
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.