What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : Farmers : HR 1591. Fiscal 2007 supplemental appropriations bill that funds the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan and other domestic initiatives such as hurricane recovery/On passage of the bill
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HR 1591. Fiscal 2007 supplemental appropriations bill that funds the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan and other domestic initiatives such as hurricane recovery/On passage of the bill
senate Roll Call 126     Mar 29, 2007
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

This vote was on passing the fiscal 2007 supplemental appropriations bill. These types of bills are funding measures intended to deal with emergencies or unforeseen needs that come up after Congress has already outlined its spending priorities for the year. The bill would dole out $124.2 billion in additional funding, over and above what Congress had already enacted earlier in the year, to cover continued military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It also contains some domestic initiatives, such as emergency funding for hurricane recovery, agricultural disaster aid and military base realignment and closures. Though its purpose is to allocate money for emergencies, because it is considered "must-pass" legislation, often unrelated items hitch a ride, such as a provision that would raise the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour.

Language included in the bill urging President Bush to remove most combat troops from Iraq by March 31, 2008 drew a veto threat from the White House. This language created the most significant debate over the measure, including a Republican attempt to remove the provision that ultimately failed.

Many Democrats have maintained that American troops have fulfilled their duties and that to remain longer in Iraq would mean more lives lost for little gain. They also say that in pushing for withdrawing troops from Iraq, they are honoring a mandate given to them by the American people during the last election, when Democrats took both the House and Senate from an entrenched Republican majority. Republicans, on the other hand, have argued that setting a timetable for withdrawal would create a vacuum in Iraq that would be filled by terrorist organizations. They say this would destabilize the entire Middle East and put America at risk for more terrorist attacks on its soil.

On the merits of the bill itself, Republicans and the White House blamed Democrats for including too much funding unrelated to combat operations, as well as an "artificial timetable" on troop withdrawal that the administration could not accept. Conservatives charged that those two things ultimately would delay pushing the bill through to enactment, in the process delaying funding needed to sustain the war effort.

During a speech before the National Cattlemen's Beef Association meeting while the bill was being considered on the Senate floor, Bush took a swipe at the measure. "Funding for our forces in Iraq will begin to run out in mid-April. Members of Congress need to stop making political statements and start providing vital funds for our troops."

Democrats such as Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, who chairs the Appropriations Committee, called Bush and other Republicans' remarks "tired rhetoric." "The troops are not going to run out of funding," Byrd said.

Democrats were united in voting to pass the bill 51-47, though Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., who has repeatedly said he is not in favor of withdrawing troops, voted against the measure. Two Republicans voted yes with Democrats and against the White House: Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Gordon Smith of Oregon. Thus, the Senate passed the bill that would allocate emergency funding to combat operations and other domestic programs in fiscal 2007, as well as urging the White House to set a timetable to withdraw from Iraq.

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