- The Washington Times - Friday, June 5, 2009

House Democratic leaders were forced Thursday to postpone votes on a war spending bill until next week after Republicans withdrew support en masse over $5 billion included for the International Monetary Fund.

The leadership will need some Republican support to pass the nearly $100 billion spending bill for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan unless enough antiwar Democrats can be convinced to switch their votes.

Republicans said the IMF donation, which would finance a $100 billion line of credit to help poor countries weather the global recession and a previous commitment of $8 billion for the fund, was too expensive, did not belong in a war bill and risked ending up in the hands of terrorists.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Republicans were failing to support the troops and called the suggestion that the money could go to terrorists a “scare tactic.”

“We view it as an alleviation of poverty, of ending … the fury of despair [which is] very important in terms of our national security,” the California Democrat told reporters on Capitol Hill. “The IMF will have strong support among the Democrats.”

President Obama pledged to make the IMF donation at last month’s Group of 20 summit in London.

“We may be able to borrow enough money to solve America’s problems, but I guarantee you we don’t have enough money to solve the rest of the world’s problems,” said House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican.

“We’re going to provide the International Monetary Fund $108 billion that we don’t have.So we’re going to borrow $108 billion from the Chinese; we’re going to give it to the IMF; and we’re going to expect our kids and grandkids to pay for it,” he said.”Americans aren’t buying this.And I tell you what, Republicans in the House aren’t going to buy it, either.”

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, who was spearheading opposition to the IMF funds based on terrorism fears, countered Mrs. Pelosi by citing a letter by Rep. Brad Sherman, California Democrat, that warned of Hezbollah receiving IMF funds if the extremist group gains political power in Lebanon.

“Once again, it looks like Speaker Pelosi and Barney Frank might have to go back and check their facts,” said Mr. Cantor, Virginia Republican.

The flap over the IMF donation is just the latest wrinkle for Mr. Obama’s first war-spending bill. Democrats previously bowed to Republican criticism and axed $81 million from the legislation that the White House requested to close the terrorist detention camp at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

However, the bulk of the bill closely follows Mr. Obama’s request for spending on military and diplomatic missions related to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

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