What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Curbing Presidential Power : H.R. 3289. Fiscal 2004 Supplemental Appropriations for Iraq and Afghanistan/Vote to Reduce the Reconstruction Budget for Iraq by Fifty Percent Until the Administration Presents a Clear Plan of Action to Congress Regarding Iraq's Reconstruction.
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H.R. 3289. Fiscal 2004 Supplemental Appropriations for Iraq and Afghanistan/Vote to Reduce the Reconstruction Budget for Iraq by Fifty Percent Until the Administration Presents a Clear Plan of Action to Congress Regarding Iraq's Reconstruction.
house Roll Call 553     Oct 17, 2003
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

The reconstruction budget for Iraq accounts for approximately $20 billion of the $87 billion included in the administration's supplemental spending request to Congress for military and reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. While lawmakers generally support the administration's proposed military expenditures, there is less consensus regarding the amount and purpose of funds in the Iraq reconstruction budget. Prior to this vote, several unsuccessful efforts were made by Progressives to strip funding in the reconstruction budget for the oil company Halliburton. Evidence suggests that Halliburton, Vice President Cheney's former employer, had overcharged the federal government for the importation and sale of gasoline in Iraq by $250 million (see House votes 548 and 551). A Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown, and Root, had also allegedly fleeced the U.S. taxpayer by overcharging the military for meals provided to U.S. troops. Progressive lawmakers were also concerned about the enormous costs of the Iraqi reconstruction effort. In their view, the U.S. taxpayer should not bear the entire burden of reconstructing Iraq. Instead, they argued, the Bush Administration had a responsibility to attract international support and funding; that support, they pointed out, required a serious effort by administration officials because of what they characterized as President Bush's "go it alone" strategy in Iraq. And, finally, Progressives (and lawmakers generally) charged the Bush Administration with failing to adequately plan for post-war Iraq. In a move intended to hold the administration accountable for the reconstruction effort, Congressman Kind (D-WI) proposed a measure which would have reduced the reconstruction budget for Iraq by fifty percent, or $10 billion, until the administration presented a detailed plan to Congress regarding the specific nature of expenditures for Iraq's reconstruction. Progressives supported Kind's amendment because, in their view, the Bush Administration lacked a coherent policy for Iraq's reconstruction; spending money without a clear purpose, they argued, was wasteful. Conservatives opposed the measure. In their view, the best way to insure that U.S. troops arrive home quickly and safely is to proceed with Iraq's reconstruction as quickly as possible. Eliminating money from the underlying supplemental spending bill for reconstruction, they argued, would delay progress in Iraq. On a vote of 156-267, the Kind amendment was defeated and the $20 billion reconstruction budget for Iraq remained in the underlying supplemental spending bill.

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