- Al Sharpton, Trayvon Martin’s parents rally against Fla. ‘stand your ground’ law
- Hillary Clinton campaign got illicit funds from D.C. scandal figure
- Obama administration backs off plan to cut prescription-drug program
- Tickets linked to stolen passports purchased by Iranian middleman
- More than 3,500 police planned for Boston Marathon
- Ottawa day care suspends 2-year-old for ‘outside’ cheese sandwich
- Liam Neeson tells NYC mayor to ‘man up’ in horse carriage fight
- Real-life Dr. Doolittle to reveal how to talk to animals
- Climate change could bring back smallpox, researchers say
- Shoe-bomb witness to speak from London at N.Y. trial
House, Senate battle over Iraq, Afghanistan bill
A long-stalled bill to help pay for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is back at the feet of House Democrats, who must decide whether to accept the Senate’s leaner proposal or keep pushing for billions of dollars in extra domestic spending — a politically risky move that could further delay resources to U.S. troops.
The Senate on Thursday passed an almost $60 billion measure to supplement the nation’s war efforts but stripped almost $23 billion for schools, summer jobs programs, college aid and minority farmers, among other programs added by the House, which passed its version earlier this summer.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he supports in principle the House Democrats’ wish list. But with Senate Republicans unwilling to support a war funding bill loaded with so many House extras, the Nevada Democrat said, he had no choice but to cut the proposals from the upper chamber’s version.
“Unfortunately, Republicans blocked those measures as they continue to push their job-killing agenda and harm our economic recovery,” Mr. Reid said. “We will work with our colleagues in the House to make sure that the important provisions that Republicans obstructed are addressed as soon as possible.”
House Democratic leaders haven’t decided what their next move will be on the “war supplemental” bill, although a full vote in the chamber is expected this week, senior House Democratic aides said Friday.
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, promised last week that the House will pass the measure before Congress adjourns for its August recess but didn’t hint on what the bill would look like.
But reintroducing a war spending bill filled with non-emergency, nonmilitary provisions almost certainly would be blocked again in the Senate. With the congressional recess approaching — and with midterm elections less than four months away — Democrats are desperate to avoid any perception that they aren’t sensitive to the needs of U.S. troops.
House Democrats also are under pressure from the Pentagon, which has been clamoring for Congress to quickly pass the spending bill. The Defense Department has warned that thousands of Pentagon employees could be furloughed unless the measure is passed before the recess.
Axed in the Senate measure were provisions that House Democrats said were intended to spur economic and job growth, including $10 billion in grants to school districts to avoid teacher layoffs, $5 billion for the Pell Grant program for low-income college students, $1 billion for a summer jobs program and $700 million to improve security along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Senators also removed funding to settle black farmers’ discrimination claims against the government.
“I’m afraid we’re losing sight of the purpose of these war supplemental bills,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican. “These bills are not for forward-funding domestic programs, they are not for funding projects that won’t pass elsewhere.”
Mr. McConnell said it was the Senate’s duty to “send it back to the House and reject any delaying tactic or additional matters that can wait for future consideration in this session.”
The Senate measure contains funding for medical care for Vietnam War veterans exposed to Agent Orange and replenishing almost empty disaster aid accounts, as well as money for Haitian earthquake relief and flood-damaged areas of Tennessee and Rhode Island.
• This article is based in part on wire service reports.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at email@example.com.
- GOP tests Democrats on college loan issue
- Lawmakers outside intelligence loop get miffed about briefing structure in Congress
- John Boehner: Time is right to bring latest farm bill to House floor
- Supreme Court nears rulings on key voting rights cases
- John Boehner demands answers on NSA, phone records
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
- Hillary Clinton campaign received funds from Jeffrey Thompson
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- Mitch McConnell on beating tea party: 'We are going to crush them'
- CARNES: Kissinger's flawed and offensive analysis of Ukraine
- Atheists sue to remove 'Ground Zero Cross' from 9/11 museum
- SAUERBREY: Taxing Marylanders until they flee
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Sharyl Attkisson resigns from CBS after months of talks
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again