H.R. 2346, the 2009 fiscal year supplemental spending bill, contained funding for the ongoing military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. This was a vote on a motion to recommit (send back) the bill to committee with instructions to add language providing for changes in parts of the bill. The additional language was designed to restore $3 billion in overall defense spending, to move the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Program funding from the State Department budget to the Defense Department budget, and to shift $200 million to law enforcement operations in the efforts against Mexican drug importers.
Rep. Rogers (R-KY), who made the motion said that the language he proposed be added to the appropriations bill “will keep up our military assistance to Pakistan's counterterrorism fight, prevents a cut in the current year's (worldwide) troop support, and shifts a small part of the bill's increase in foreign aid to keeping the Mexican drug cartels out of American cities.” Rogers argued that, although “State does great diplomatic work . . . counterinsurgency is not the State Department's forte . . . the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Funding is not a diplomatic tool; it's a military tool designed for aiding what is arguably one of the most important military counterinsurgency efforts in history. The Secretary of Defense has been clear that he does not feel the State Department currently has the capacity or ability to administer this counterinsurgency program.”
Referring to the reason he was proposing an additional $200 million to the Mexican drug war efforts, Rogers said “this bill fails to include one red cent for the vital work of our law enforcement agencies fighting the cartels along our border with Mexico . . . More than 90 percent of the cocaine comes to us through Mexico, disbursed through a distribution network that touches virtually every major city in our country, not to mention methamphetamines and the other dangerous drugs.”
Rep. Obey (D-WI), who chairs the Appropriations Committee, opposed the motion. Obey said “we have heard many a lecture from the other side of the aisle about spending levels, but this proposal would add $3 billion to the spending levels in this bill . . . (and) it eliminates the Pakistani counterinsurgency fund for next year, which has already been endorsed by (Defense) Secretary Gates.” Obey also noted that the bill already contained $400 million in direct aid to Mexico. He added that the massive economic stimulus bill, which the House had recently passed and which every Republican opposed, “provided an over $700 million increase to deal with our border problems.”
Rep. Murtha (D-PA), who chairs the Defense Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, also opposed the motion, primarily on procedural grounds. He said that the Democrats and Republicans on the committee “made a deal and the White House endorsed our deal. They didn't like what we did, but they endorsed our deal. . . And what you are doing is fighting this thing all over again, the same way you tried to do it in the full committee . . . I don't appreciate the fact we make a deal and then we turn around here and (you) try to change that deal.”
The vote failed on a vote of 191-237. One hundred and seventy-four Republicans and seventeen Democrats voted “aye”. Two hundred and thirty-three Democrats and four Republicans voted “nay”. As a result, the changes proposed by the motion were not added, and the House moved to vote on passage of the fiscal year 2009 supplemental spending bill containing funding for the ongoing military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.