The House of Representatives has debated today about dumping $33 billion into the war in Afghanistan, and will vote later this afternoon. Here’s how the debate went down:
10:42 AM: Rep. David Obey, Democrat and chair of the Appropriations Committee, says his conscience tells him to vote no because this bill will just help recruit people who want to attack us, but that his duty as committee chair (apparently a higher duty) requires him to bring the bill to the floor. He proceeds to speak against the bill he is bringing to the floor. He will end his career in Congress this year, having already announced his retirement, on this high note of hypocrisy.
10:47 AM: Republican Rep. Jerry Lewis says this bill has been delayed by Democrats’ love for spending, never noting that the biggest piece of spending in the bill and in the federal budget is war and the military, never noting that the war money is borrowed and off the books, while the spending for useful things – like teachers – has been paid for with off sets elsewhere. Lewis applauds the Senate’s rejection of the teacher funding, without ever mentioning teachers and urges yes votes. Anyone doubting that Republicans will, in large part, vote yes may be having doubts about now.
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10:50 AM: Rep. Norman Dicks, a Democrat who may replace Obey as Appropriations Committee chair, now speaks up for yes votes, expressing his love for all things military. Anyone doubting that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants this bill to pass today may be having doubts about now. He’s parroting Pentagon propaganda and expressing his eagerness to get on to the NEXT war funding bill, a much larger one.
10:53 AM: Rep. Harold Rogers, Republican from Kentucky, denounces Democrats’ delay, “spending” and circumvention of committees and standard procedures. He characterizes today’s vote as one on a “clean bill.” He wants yes votes.
10:55 AM: Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey of New York wants yes votes, hypes aid to Haiti and says funding this escalation of the war is how Congress helps the President in his plan to “bring our troops home.” She also hypes airline measure in the bill, but laments loss of teacher funding. Anyone expecting a shortage of BS, hypocrisy or obfuscation today may be beginning to bang their head on a table right about … OW, damn!
10:57 AM: Republican Rep. Buck McKeon wants yes votes immediately to prevent the Pentagon having to start doing stupid things. (No comment.) Support Duh Troops is his preferred propaganda line.
Every speaker from both parties wants yes votes, except Obey. Have those Democrats who’ve been given permission by Pelosi to vote no been forbidden to speak for it?
11:00 AM: Democratic Rep. Chet Edwards from Texas wants yes votes and hypes support for Agent Orange veteran victims, despite Veterans for Peace’s wise opposition to the bill despite that measure.
No more Republicans with anything to say?
11:02 AM: Democratic Rep. Ike Skelton mumbles his redundant support for yes votes and avoidance of destitution at the impoverished Pentagon.
11:05 AM: HERE’S A SWITCH. Rep. Jim McGovern, Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts points out that the war is a disaster, that the money will be borrowed, that we need the money here, that the Afghan government is corrupt, that soldiers will die because of this funding, that presidents must respond to Congressional questions, that this is a blank check. He calls for NO votes! He got one minute.
11:07 AM: Now Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich gets one minute. He describes WikiLeaks information, the lies, the corruption, the war crimes. He urges getting out of Afghanistan. He calls for no votes.
Release from Kucinich:
Washington D.C. (July 27, 2010) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today gave the following address on the floor of the House of Representatives: “Wake Up America. WikiLeaks’ release of secret war documents gave us 92,000 reasons to end the wars. Pick one. Wake Up America. Main Street is falling apart. Businesses have closed. Bankruptcies abound. People are losing their jobs, losing their homes, losing their retirement security. The middle class is falling apart. Workers’ rights are not being protected. The government is out of money. There is not even money for childhood nutrition. Wake up America. There is unlimited money for war. Money for a corrupt government in Afghanistan. When U.S. money is not going to the Karzai mob’s personal use, it goes to help the Taliban kill our troops. There is money for a corrupt government in Pakistan which helps the Taliban in Afghanistan kill our troops. Meanwhile, our troops are committing suicide in record numbers. Wake Up America. How can we solve the world’s problems if we can’t solve our own problems here at home?” [See the video here.
11:08 AM: Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee, the only vote against the war when it was begun, now speaks up for defunding and ending it. She’s willing to fund only withdrawal. She laments the lack of funding for black farmers victimized by discrimination (which was in the version of the bill rejected by the Senate and may have an impact on Black Caucus votes today). She says we need the funding in this country. She repeatedly praises the troops “serving so well” in an operation she is clear is a crime.
This is a real cut above what happened on July 1 when nobody spoke up for no votes on the rule as opposition to the war funding. Here comes voice number five permitted on the floor urging no votes. Those who vote yes will be clearly targeting themselves as war supporters in November.
11:11 AM: Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee praises US soldiers in Afghanistan, but opposes the plan, urges no votes.
11:13 AM: Now the Republicans respond. One Republican Congress member says money for the troops will run out on August 7. The Democrats can’t reply to this while continuing their obliviousness to the fact that this is an ESCALATION vote, not a continuation of war vote. When you don’t fund an escalation, you don’t do (or you undo) the escalation.
11:15 AM: Democratic Rep. Jay Inslee from Washington State laments need for funding for US police, points out that we’re borrowing money from China to train Afghan police while laying off US police. Says that war should be paid for if fought. He doesn’t say vote no, but that’s the clear implication.
11:18 AM: Obey says he wants to fund “border security” and US schools etc. and bashes Afghan troops in comparison with American. Repeats that he will vote no. Does not encourage anyone else to do so.
11:18 AM: Voice vote. Chair claims two-thirds voted yes. Obey asks for yeas and nays.
11:19 AM: Vote will be recorded later – presumably after 2 PM. You have a few hours in which to CALL CONGRESS AND DEMAND NO VOTES! 1-888-493-5443.