So much for the “Blue Dogs” pledge to be specifically responsible and oppose pork (all 14 freshmen Democrats voted for the bill). Maybe “Blue Hogs” would be a better name. Democrats made a rush to the trough in exchange for their votes in support of a bill promoting retreat or defunding our troops while they’re in the field.
Click here for the list of votes. At least Utah’s Rep. Matheson (D) did vote against the bill. Thank you Rep Matheson!
President Bush has vowed to veto the bill and it is unlikely to make it through the Senate. Check Hot Air for the video of President Bush’s response (a must see). A transcript of his remarks is also available at the White House site.
Nevertheless, this bill results in a delay in getting necessary funds (if they are, eventually, approved) to our troops in a combat zone, despite the surge’s successes. Sec Def Robert Gates weighs in:
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Robert Gates called for Congress to pass a bill quickly, or the military would be forced to take severe stopgap measures because of a lack of funding.
Among those measures, Gates said, would be slowing deployment of replacement troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and extending the tours of units already there.
“This kind of disruption to key programs will have a genuinely adverse effect on the readiness of the Army and the quality of life for soldiers and their families,” Gates said. “I urge the Congress to pass the supplemental as soon as possible.”
Some choice quotes from the President’s response (I recommend the full response available at the Hot Air and WH links above):
The purpose of the emergency war spending bill I requested was to provide our troops with vital funding. Instead, Democrats in the House, in an act of political theater, voted to substitute their judgment for that of our military commanders on the ground in Iraq. They set rigid restrictions that will require an army of lawyers to interpret. They set an arbitrary date for withdrawal without regard for conditions on the ground. And they tacked on billions for pet projects that have nothing to do with winning the war on terror. This bill has too much pork, too many conditions and an artificial timetable for withdrawal.
…Today’s action in the House does only one thing: it delays the delivering of vital resources for our troops. A narrow majority has decided to take this course, just as General Petraeus and his troops are carrying out a new strategy to help the Iraqis secure their capital city.
Amid the real challenges in Iraq, we’re beginning to see some signs of progress. Yet, to score political points, the Democratic majority in the House has shown it is willing to undermine the gains our troops are making on the ground.
UPDATE: Human Events has a good piece on the Blue Hogs. Amanda Carpenter discusses the pork and ‘forgotten’ campaign promises and lists those voting for pork (36 of 43) and against it (7 of 43).