According to House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha (D-Pa.), Democrats do not have the votes to pass the War Supplemental bill to fund the troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Democrats have relied on Republican votes to pass previous supplementals because their liberal membership routinely refuses to fund the ongoing conflict. But Republican support was lost when House and Senate Democrats stripped the Graham-Lieberman provision from the bill. Graham-Lieberman would have banned release of Defense Department photos showing alleged abuse of terrorist detainees. Those photos are sought by the ACLU in a current lawsuit.
Republicans also oppose the International Monetary Fund donation of up to $108 billion that is attached to the war supplemental as an extraneous amendment.
“We don’t have the votes for it yet,” Murtha said. Of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Murtha said, “Nancy’s working it. It’s going to be a very close vote.”
American taxpayers would have to borrow the money from foreign governments, like China, to lend to the IMF to lend to other foreign governments. Republicans would not sign on. That left Democrats with egg on their face, either having to pull the IMF funding or find a way to get their far left fringe to vote to support the troops, which is always difficult. The answer Pelosi seems to have come up with is to pack the supplemental with fringe elements, like stripping the ban on the detainee photo release, to attract the hard-left votes.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) spoke to the conference and tried to push through the adoption of a Senate amendment which would have barred the release of the detainee photos for several years. The amendment was defeated on a straight party line vote 17-13.
President Obama, who is in favor of the American taxpayer footing the bill for the foreign government bailouts through the IMF, sent a letter (pdf) to the Democrat conferees opposing the passage of the McConnell amendment.
Obama’s letter couldn’t have been more troubling.
“On May 13, I announced I would resist the release of additional detainee photos because I did not believe it would add any additional benefit to our understanding of what happened in the past, and that the most direct consequence of releasing them would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in greater danger,” Obama said in the letter. “Earlier today, the Second Circuit granted the Government’s motion that will stay the earlier court order to release the detainee photos, and we will now move forward with a petition to the Supreme Court to appeal the case.”
Obama knows that he could — by the stroke of his pen — classify the photos and put them out of reach of the ACLU and al-Queda — which is akin to what the Graham-Lieberman amendment did before it was stripped out and what Sen. McConnell attempted to do by amendment in conference.
During the conference committee, Democrats also created an enormous loophole for the Obama administration, inserting watered-down language that would allow Gitmo prisoners to be brought into the U.S. for trial within 45 days of the Obama administration submitting requested certifications to Congress.
Ahead of any completed actions by Congress, Obama already transferred Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, to New York last week to be tried for his role in the August 1998 of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.
The mangled War Supplemental Conference Report is scheduled to make its way to the floor of the House this week for final passage.
Pence Talks Energy Plans in GOP Weekly Radio Address
House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence on Saturday talked energy on the weekly Republican radio address, excoriating the Democrat plans as a disastrous move toward higher energy prices and job losses. In the weekly address, Pence reminded listeners that it was the President who first admitted cap and trade would be prohibitively expensive for American families.
“President Obama even admitted that under his energy plan utility rates would ‘necessarily skyrocket,’” Pence said. “If the Democrats’ cap and trade bill were to become law, estimates suggest that the average American family would face up to $4,300 a year in extra energy costs and anywhere between 1.8 and 7 million American jobs could be lost. That’s a heavy price to pay for a plan that will do very little to clean up our environment, since manufacturers will probably ship their plants, and their pollution, to countries with less stringent environmental safeguards. This national energy tax amounts to an economic declaration of war on America’s families, small businesses and family farms. The American people know we can do better.”
Republicans released their own plan that would rely heavily on clean nuclear energy for electricity and expanding domestic drilling to achieve energy independence.
“This past week, House Republicans introduced the American Energy Act,” Pence said. “It’s an ‘all of the above’ energy plan that offers energy independence, more jobs and a cleaner environment, without imposing a national energy tax.”
The American Energy Act would also create a trust from royalties on new drilling leases that would fund the research into renewable energy sources for the future.