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If you asked the House of Representatives right now to approve $37 billion to continue the war in Afghanistan indefinitely without a plan in place for winding it down, the answer would be "no." But through some carefully considered procedural maneuvering last night , Democratic leaders in the House managed to pass their war spending bill, reject attempts at setting a withdrawal timeline, enact a broad budget enforcement resolution that will guide all discretionary spending for 2011, and even throw in billions of dollars (fully offset) in unrelated domestic spending. 

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One More War Supplemental, Please

March 29, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

A huge chunk of the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been done outside of the regular congressional appropriations process through "supplemental" spending bills, which don't count on the budget and mask the actual impact the wars are having on the deficit.

This is something Obama vowed to change on the campaign trail. "As President, Obama will […] end the abuse of the supplemental budgets, where much of the money has been lost, by creating system of oversight for war funds as stringent as in the regular budget," a campaign document (.pdf) on defense spending stated.

But, last Thursday, the Administration was back in front of Congress asking for another supplemental for the Afghanistan surge, his second since becoming President.

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Earlier this week, the House voted on a resolution (H.Con.Res.248) from Rep. Dennis Kucinich [D, OH-10] directing President Obama to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan within 30 days. As expected, the resolution failed. But it failed by a larger spread than I think most would expect. Only 65 members of the 435-member, Democrat-dominated House of Representatives voted for the bill.

You can see who voted "yes " on withdrawing the troops here: 60 Democrats and 5 Republicans.

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Bills on the Floor this Week

March 8, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The health care reform process continues in the background, but Congress will also be voting on other consequential legislation this week. The House is scheduled to debate and vote on winding down the war in Afghanistan and impeaching a New Orleans judge on corruption charges. The Senate, meanwhile, will continue working on jobs legislation.

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Troop-Support Calculus

June 16, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

By some bizarre turn of events, House Republicans are expected today to vote almost unanimously against a bill to fund the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their opposition to the bill, coupled with the House progressives' opposition to funding the wars in general, has thrown passage of the bill, and funding for U.S. troops overseas, in doubt.

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The $96.7 billion bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been stalled in Congress over objections that it would boost funding for the International Monetary Fund and block the release of detainee photos, not to mention objections to continuing to fund the wars.

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Earlier this week I wrote about a special provision that the Senate had stuck inside the Iraq/Afghanistan war funding supplemental to block, at the discretion of the Pentagon, the public release of photographs of detainee torture. Now liberal House Democrats are threatening to block the bill - and funding for the wars - unless the photo suppression provision is taken out.

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I highlighted this in yesterday's link roundup, but I think it deserves a bigger mention here. Salon's Glenn Greenwald found buried in the Iraq/Afghanistan supplemental funding bill a provision to override FOIA laws, retroactively, and block the public release of all torture photos. Here's an excerpt from his post, which was also posted to Boing Boing today: The White House is actively supporting a new bill jointly sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman - called The The Detainee P...

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Senate Drops Guantanamo Closure Funds

May 20, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate voted today, 90-6, to take out $80 million from the Iraq/Afghanistan supplemental that was included for the Obama administration to manage the closing of the Guantanamo detention center and to prohibit any funds in the bill from being used to transfer detainees to the U.S. Click through for a list of the six senators that voted to keep the funds in the bill.

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