Statement on Conference Report of HR 2346, FY 2009 War Supplemental Appropriations
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this conference report on the War Supplemental Appropriations. I wonder what happened to all of my colleagues who said they were opposed to the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I wonder what happened to my colleagues who voted with me as I opposed every war supplemental request under the previous administration. It seems, with very few exceptions, they have changed their position on the war now that the White House has changed hands. I find this troubling. As I have said while opposing previous war funding requests, a vote to fund the war is a vote in favor of the war. Congress exercises its constitutional prerogatives through the power of the purse.
This conference report, being a Washington-style compromise, reflects one thing Congress agrees on: spending money we do not have. So this “compromise” bill spends 15 percent more than the president requested, which is $9 billion more than in the original House bill and $14.6 billion more than the original Senate version. Included in this final version – in addition to the $106 billion to continue the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – is a $108 billion loan guarantee to the International Monetary Fund, allowing that destructive organization to continue spending taxpayer money to prop up corrupt elites and promote harmful economic policies overseas.
As Americans struggle through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, this emergency supplemental appropriations bill sends billions of dollars overseas as foreign aid. Included in this appropriation is $660 million for Gaza, $555 million for Israel, $310 million for Egypt, $300 million for Jordan, and $420 million for Mexico. Some $889 million will be sent to the United Nations for “peacekeeping” missions. Almost one billion dollars will be sent overseas to address the global financial crisis outside our borders and nearly $8 billion will be spent to address a “potential pandemic flu.”
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Mr. Speaker, I continue to believe that the best way to support our troops is to bring them home from Iraq and Afghanistan. If one looks at the original authorization for the use of force in Afghanistan, it is clear that the ongoing and expanding nation-building mission there has nothing to do with our goal of capturing and bringing to justice those who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001. Our continued presence in Iraq and Afghanistan does not make us safer at home, but in fact it undermines our national security. I urge my colleagues to defeat this reckless conference report.