The House last night approved an extra $33 billion in funding for the War in Afghanistan, overcoming strong opposition among Democrats, over 100 of whom voted against the bill.
The outcome had been in doubt all day, as Democratic leaders rolled the dice, and decided to move the bill through under special expedited rules of consideration, which require a two-thirds vote in favor of the measure for passage.
That meant backers needed 289 votes to win, a tall order considering all the opposition among Democrats.
In the end, supporters had 19 votes to spare, as the final tally was 308-114, despite the efforts of war critics to block the money.
“It is a mistake to give this administration yet another blank check for this war,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA).
“We cannot continue to support this war when the government of Afghanistan will not stand up,” added Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX).
Also an issue in the debate, the refusal of the Senate last week to go along with over $20 billion in extra domestic spending backed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats. That money included a $10 billion fund to help states avoid layoffs of teachers.
“I am disappointed that many important domestic investments were not included in this bill,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who blamed Republicans in the Senate.
It should be noted that there was much more than the money for Afghanistan in this bill, as I found during a lengthy review of the actual bill text.
Most of the extra money dealt with aid for Haiti in the wake of this year’s earthquake, but there were other extras that I found:
* $950 million Agricultural Credit Insurance Fund Program
* $18 million Emergency Forest Restoration Program
* $150 million in Haiti quake relief
* $49 million in economic development for states hit by severe storms between March and May of 2010, which have more than 20 counties declared as disaster areas
* $5 million for NOAA to deal with “commercial fishery failures”
* $94 million for Drug Interdiction
* $10 million for emergency drought relief
* $5.1 billion for FEMA disaster relief
* provision requiring foreign airlines to update their no-fly lists no more than 30 minutes after that list is updated by the US government
* $18.2 million to deal with the Department of Labor’s caseload on mine safety
* $174,000 widows payment to wife of the late Rep. John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania
* $12.9 million for the U.S. Capitol Police to buy and install part of a new radio system
* $79 million for “Embassy Security, Construction and Maintenance” in Haiti
* $3 million for “emergency broadcast support” for Voice of America programs dealing with Haiti
* $45 million for “Global Health and Child Survival” for pandemic preparedness
* $212 million for Haitian debt relief
* $25 million in economic aid for El Salvador due to Hurricane Ida
* $15 million in economic aid for Congo
And I’m sure there is more. But because I have no electricity, it will have to wait until tomorrow.