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February 14, 2008
Congress will soon begin consideration of an additional $102.4 billion in supplemental funding for the Iraq – Afghanistan wars. On February 13, Representative Jack Murtha (Chair of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee) announced that he intends to produce a final version of the latest 2008 Iraq – Afghanistan war supplemental spending bill by the end of February. After this it will be considered by the full House Appropriations Committee and then go to the full floor of the House for a vote. The Senate similarly is beginning to develop its version of the latest war supplemental spending bill.
The House bill will be developed behind closed doors. No hearings are scheduled between now and the end of February to discuss the bill in the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee. It is not known when the final war supplemental spending bill will be made available to the public. It may well end up that the final supplemental spending bill is presented as a “fait accompli”—an accomplished act—on the floors of the House and of the Senate only hours before the vote is to take place. In May 2007, the final spending bill was not released to the public until about 6 a.m. on the morning of the vote. In December 2007, the funds for the Iraq war were tucked into a Senate amendment to an omnibus appropriations bill—an amendment available to the public only after it was submitted on the floor of the Senate by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
It is also highly unlikely that any language on partial troop withdrawal will be included in the supplemental spending bill this time around. Representative Murtha stated that he will recommend the inclusion of some form of withdrawal language in the bill, though stopped short of stating partial withdrawal language will in fact be included in the bill. However, such language was stripped out of the final version of war supplemental spending bills that passed Congress in May 2007 and in December 2007.
Therefore, it is critical that phone calls and lobbying—both legal and extralegal civil disobedience—be on-going at the offices of Representatives and Senators with the message being simple: Vote against any additional funds for the Iraq war.
You can contact your Representative and Senators via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
You can find out your Representative’s and Senators’ direct contact information by visiting the website of Contacting Congress
Following is a “Question and Answer” piece on the status of the Iraq – Afghanistan war supplemental as well as two charts that summarize the components of the war spending request.