Saturday, March 24, 2007

House Democrats Try to Bribe Their Members

The House passed a bill yesterday giving the President the emergency funds he needed for the war in Iraq. The bill, HR 1591, is entitled The US Troop Readiness, Veteran’s Health, and Iraq Accountability Act 2007. The bill comes with more strings than the most complicated puppet.

Some conservative Democrats have been against placing arbitrary time tables on the war. In order to get them to vote with the rest of the Democratic Party, this bill was loaded with many, many pork barrel spending projects. I leave it to the reader to distinguish between a “pork barrel project” and an open bribe for a vote. Some of the pork in this bill shows up as follows (remember, this bill is for troop readiness, veteran’s health, and Iraq accountability):

  • $25 Million for Spinach
  • $20 Million for US Farmland damaged by freezing temperatures.
  • $283 Million to continue funding the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002.
  • $24 Million for the 2007 crop of peanuts
  • $5 Million to offset losses from last years health advisory regarding imported fish
  • $60.4 Million to go to the operations, research, & facilities of the National Marine Fisheries Service
  • $100 Million for Citrus Crop relief from Hurricane Katrina and Rita

In all, there were around $20 Billion in pork projects added to the bill in order to buy conservative Democrat’s votes. These conservative Democrats have been against setting a timetable for Iraq. Now, they have put there reservations aside in order to bring pork projects back to their districts.

There will be supporters of the Democratic Party that will paint this as a step in the right direction. They will say that the Democrats are correct and that we have already lost in Iraq, or we are in the middle of a civil war we can’t hope to win. There is an excellent article today in the Weekly Standard looking at the arguments the Democrats have laid out for why we should get out of Iraq. The main arguments the Democrats have put forth just don’t hold water.

If the American people as a whole thought we should get out of Iraq, Congress would be able to simply cut funding to the war. Instead, they are forced to add $20 Billion in pork to get conservative Democrats to agree to timetables around the war. The President accused the Democrats of “Political theatrics”. When the Congress puts $20 Billion into a bill that the President has vowed to veto, and probably won’t survive intact in the Senate, I am afraid the President is correct. House Democrats have decided to stage a tragedy, and they are using money the troops need as a simple prop in their play.


Matthew Smith said...

I am no fan of pork barrel politics, which is an equally repulsive tradition on both the right and left, so I will choose to refute your conclusion rather than your arguments.

"If the American people as a whole thought we should get out of Iraq, Congress would be able to simply cut funding to the war."

The American people have overwhelmingly, conclusively and repeatedly expressed their desire that we get out of Iraq. Congress cannot simply cut off funding, however. Doing so would jeopordize our soldiers. It would be playing a game of political chicken with the our Commander in Chief...a game in which the players (Congress and the executive branch) would have nothing to lose, and only our armed forces would suffer casualties.

The right loves to use the "if you want out of Iraq, cut off funding" talking point, but they (et tu, Andy?) are simply trying to bait Democrats into taking action that will direct the nation's ire at the left and help Republicans gain back their Congressional majorities.

And, political friends, THAT'S what I call not supporting our troops.

Andy D said...

I choose to refute your premise (this topic could be fun if we keep doing this). I have seen no evidence that the American people want out of Iraq right now. I think there are definitely those out there that want out, as there are those who want to fight harder. Like Patton said, Americans hate a looser. I think the majority of Americans want us to win in Iraq. If we aren’t willing to do what it takes to win, then they want us out.

Brandon said...

Andy, I agree with you on this one. The House leadership should have held a vote on a bill that would've have set a timetable to withdraw from Iraq and let the bill pass or fail on its merits. I find it highly hypocritical for Pelosi to let a bill full of pork come up for a vote when one of the reasons the Democrats won the Congressional elections is that people were tired of the GOP pork projects.

Matthew Smith said...

I had no idea Patton didn't like slutty women...or did you mean "loser"?

Sorry - couldn't resist.

Andy: for someone as well read and (my guess) well educated as you are, I'm surprised you haven't seen any of the hundreds of polls conducted by reputable outlets (read: not Fox News) in the last 12 months. Look into it.

Andy D said...

Sorry for the error Matt. However, I have yet to see a poll that says the majority of Americans want us to lose. I have seen plenty of polls that show people want us out of Iraq. If you asked me, "Would you like the troops to come home?" Sure, but I want them to come home victorious. I think Americans want us to win, and if we don't want to win, then come home.

Brandon said...

The sad thing is that this bill's going to be passed by Congress not because all those voting for it want us to pull out, but because they want to protect the pork in the bill for their states or districts.

Andy D said...

I wonder if it is going to pass simply because the President has said he will veto it. That means Democrats don’t really have to worry about the surrender dates of the bill being implemented. They have a safety net, and instead of voting responsibly, they can cater to the ultra liberal side of the left.

Brandon said...

Andy, Pew just released a new poll which says that 59% of Americans favor a troop deadline & want their representative to vote for the House's bill, here's the link.

Andy D said...

I think one reason is because President Bush hasn’t communicated enough about the war. He has spent time talking about the votes in Congress the last couple of weeks, but he needs to do that more. He needs to communicate with the American people more than he does now.

Brandon said...

Andy, I understand and respect your point, but I'm not sure at this point that it would do any good for Bush to sell the surge. I think that the public would've supported the surge as recently as last year, but now they're just tired and want us the hell out of Iraq. They might accept a plan that withdraws all but 60,000-75,000 troops to secure the borders and fight al Qaeda, but that's it.

Anonymous said...

Very nice post, I totally agree! :D

Andy D said...

Thanks Cory.

Brandon, you continue to make good comments that I just tend to disagree with. If we accept as true what you say, then my argument is that it is the President’s job to go out and educate the public as to why we need to stay in Iraq. He needs to weekly remind people of the reasons we are there, and the dangers of us leaving. He needs to call opposition movements what they are: a withdrawal with no intention to return to the fight is surrender.

familyman said...

Well, I was going to stay out of this one, because it's kind of silly to come down on the Democrats for putting demestic spending into a bill like this and pretend like the Republicans don't do exactly the same thing when they have the opportunity.

But I ran across this example and couldn't help myself.

Last year's supplemental spending bill to get money to the troops approved by the Republicans contained $15Billion in Domestic spending.