Published on Friday, July 2, 2010 by The Nation
162 House Votes for an Exit Strategy From
An addition $33 billion in spending for President Obama's occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq -- and they are now his occupations as much as they once were George Bush's -- was approved by the House Thursday night as part of a broad "emergency" supplmental spending bill.
But the money for the
Two-thirds of House Democrats and nine Republicans voted for an amendment sponsored by Appropriations Committee chair David Obey, D-Wisconsin, and Congressmen Jim McGovern, D-Massachusetts, and Walter Jones, R-North Carolina, that would have required the president to rapidly begin developing a plan for the safe, orderly and expeditious redeployment of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. The Obey-McGovern-Jones amendment also called for more detailed reporting to Congress on the status of the occupation and for stricter congressional oversight of private contractors working on the ground in
The amendment received 162 votes, while 260 members opposed it .
What was significant was the partisan breakdown.
Among Democrats, 153 backed the amendment, while 98 opposed it.
Among Republicans, 9 backed the amendment while 162 opposed it.
So President Obama is now relying on Republicans to provide unquestioning support for his war, while most Democrats want to see an exit strategy developed.
Significantly, 100 members of the House  (93 Democrats, 7 Republicans) voted for an amendment offered by California Congresswoman Barbara Lee, the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, which proposed to fully fund a withdrawal plan.
Twenty-five members (22 Democrats and three Republicans) cast the boldest anti-war votes, backing an amendment to strike
What does it all add up to? Congress has not checked or balanced the president, and that is disappointing -- although opportunities still exist to do so, as the supplemental spending bill now must go back to the Senate for another vote.
What should be understood, however, is that the president's own party is losing patience with his misguided war strategies.
As Paul Kawika Martin, Peace Action's  policy and political director, said late Thursday: "A year ago, American voters turned against the
They are, as well, thinking about how to balance a budget when so much money is being diverted to expand missions that Obama should be bringing to an end.
"We’ve been in
© 2010 The Nation
John Nichols is Washington correspondent for The Nation and associate editor of The Capital Times in Madison,
URL to article: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/07/02-9
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs