Peace, Love, and Rock-n-Roll from a proud Lefty, Liberal, Socialist Hippie

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Continuing Saga of "The Emergency Suppplemental"

What a mixed bag to come out of the US Senate yesterday. In a series of votes dealing with George Bush’s latest “Emergency Supplemental” for the continuing occupation of Iraq we saw a 2/3 majority vote to provide enhanced educational benefits for veterans, a super-majority vote down an amendment to set a timeline for withdrawal and prohibit permanent bases in that country, and another super-majority approve the “standard blank check” we’ve grown accustomed to from this crowd.

Of note (for me, anyway) is where my two Senators, Cantwell and Murray, voted on each of these amendments; and, of course, where the presidential candidates came down on these votes. Sen. John McSame couldn’t break himself away from a fundraising event to report to his “day job.” Therefore, he did not vote on any of the amendments.

First to the amendment approving billions in funding for a broad array of domestic programs, including increases in GI education funding, extension of unemployment benefits, levee construction in New Orleans, and more. On this amendment both Cantwell and Murray voted “Aye”; as did Senators Clinton and Obama. The amendment passed, 75-22.

On the amendment which included a withdrawal timeline, troop readiness requirements, no permanent bases and no torture, again Cantwell and Murray voted “Aye” while Clinton and Obama both vote “No” (That’s right, both Democratic candidates for President voted against the amendment establishing a timed withdrawal from Iraq) The amendment failed, 34-63.

Finally, on the amendment to award Bush and his contractor buddies $165.4 BILLION for the continuing occupation of Iraq, Cantwell and Murray voted “No” (are you reading this Rick Larsen?) as did Sen. Clinton. Sen. Obama DIDN’T VOTE!? In the end, the amendment passed, 70-26.

With as much railing as I have done against my two senators over their “Iraq votes”, I have to say that I am pleased to see them finally voting together on the side of the majority of their constituents. As for those who would be the nominee of the Democratic Party, I have to say that they are simply keeping the waters muddied. Senators Clinton and Obama, with these votes (non-vote) are saying, while it may be fine to campaign on a platform of troop withdrawal, no permanent bases, adequate rest for the troops, etc. they are not willing to put their votes where their mouths are. YET, Senator Clinton is willing to vote to cut off funding for the occupation. And what’s with Obama’s “Not Voting” on that portion of the bill?

Because the US House voted down the Iraq funding portion of this “supplemental” there will need to be another vote in that chamber (I guess, after Memorial Day) to reconcile the two versions of the bill before it goes to Bush’s desk. Ironically, Bush is expected to veto the final bill due to the added spending on the GI Bill and the domestic spending items. With what I have come to expect from this Congress, I am guessing that, in the end, Bush will have his way so as to not distract from the presidential campaign.

All the while, people continue to die for a lie.

Chad (The Left) Shue

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