- The Senate agreed on Thursday to increase the federal
debt limit by $850 billion - from $8.965 trillion to $9.815 trillion -
and then proceeded to approve a stop-gap spending bill that gives the Bush
White House at least $9 billion in new funding for its war in Iraq. Additionally,
the administration has been given emergency authority to tap further into
a $70 billion "bridge fund" to provide new infusions of money
for the occupation while the Congress works on appropriations bills for
the Department of Defense and other agencies.
- Translation: Under the guise of a stop-gap spending
bill that is simply supposed to keep the government running until a long-delayed
appropriations process is completed - probably in November - the Congress
has just approved a massive increase in war funding.
- The move was backed by every senator who cast a vote,
- Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, the maverick Democrat
who has led the fight to end the war and bring U.S. troops home from Iraq,
was on the losing end of the 94-1 vote. (The five senators who did not
vote, all presidential candidates who are more involved in campaigning
than governing, were Democrats Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Joe Biden
and Republicans John McCain and Sam Brownback - in campaigning they'll
all be able to say, "We didn't vote for funding the war.")
- Said Feingold, "I am disappointed that we are
about to begin the 2008 fiscal year without having enacted any of the appropriations
bills for that year. I am even more disappointed that we voted on a continuing
resolution that provides tens of billions of dollars to continue the misguided
war in Iraq but does not include any language to bring that war to a close.
We need to keep the federal government operating and make sure our brave
troops get all the equipment and supplies they need, but we should not
be giving the President a blank check to continue a war that is hurting
our national security."
- In the House, the continuing resolution passed by
a vote of 404 to 14, with 14 other members not voting.
- The "no" votes in the House, all cast by
anti-war members, came from one Republican, Ron Paul of Texas, and 13 Democrats:
Oregon's Earl Blumenauer, Missouri's William Clay, Minnesota's Keith Ellison,
California's Bob Filner, Massachusetts' Barney Frank, New York's Maurice
Hinchey, Ohio's Dennis Kucinich, Washington's Jim McDermott, New Jersey's
Donald Payne, California's Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Diane Watson and
- That means that, of the 2008 presidential candidates,
only Republican Paul and Democrat Kucinich voted against giving the Bush
administration a dramatic - if not particularly well publicized - infusion
of new money for the war.
- "Each year this war is getting more and more
costly - both in the amount of money spent and in the number of lives lost.
Now this Congress is providing more funds so the administration can continue
down a path of destruction and chaos," said Kucinich, who noted the
essential role of House and Senate Democratic leaders, such as House Speaker
Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in passing the continuing
resolution. "The Democratic leadership in Congress needs to take a
stand against this President and say they will not give him any more money.
That is the only way to end this war and bring our troops home."