Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) and 153 of his Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives have pledged to the President that they will sustain a Presidential veto of the emergency security spending bill passed by the House. The spending measure, loaded down with pork and conditions on our troops, passed the House on March 23rd, by a vote of 218 to 212. Of the $124.3 billion in funding, $95.5 billion is for the Iraq war and the remainder is for various unrelated pork projects, including millions for shrimp, spinach and peanut related projects. Upton voted against the measure.
"Not only does the Democrat's spending scheme tie the hands of our troops, our generals and our President, it further delays the delivery of much-needed armor and equipment that our courageous troops so desperately deserve to carry out their mission," said Upton. "$120 million for shrimp, $74 million for peanut storage, and $25 million for spinach are utterly irrelevant for inclusion in this emergency security spending bill. This is a bill tailor made for Popeye and the Bubba Gump, rather than our military. We have a responsibility to shed the $28 billion in unrelated pork and pass a clean spending bill, no strings attached, that will allow our brave servicemen and women to do their jobs in combat - the safety and well-being of our troops is at stake."
This past Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, Ways & Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) openly admitted that Democratic leaders used pork to buy votes in order to pass the war spending bill. Asked by Host Tim Russert why the Democrats would put pork-barrel spending in such a serious bill, Rangel responded: "Because they needed the votes." Progress on the measure has been unnecessarily delayed an additional two weeks as Speaker Nancy Pelosi elected not to appoint conferees to begin negotiation with the Senate on the war spending bill and instead left town for the two-week spring break. The Senate has already appointed its negotiators.
President Bush touched upon the issue Wednesday during a Rose Garden press conference declaring, "It has now been 57 days since I requested that Congress pass emergency funds for our troops. Instead of passing clean bills that fund our troops on the front lines, the House and Senate have spent this time debating bills that undercut the troops, by substituting the judgment of politicians in Washington for the judgment of our commanders on the ground, setting an arbitrary deadline for withdrawal from Iraq, and spending billions of dollars on pork barrel projects completely unrelated to the war."
The full text of the letter to the President, signed by Upton and 153 of his Republican House colleagues is below:
March 29, 2007
Dear Mr. President,
We are greatly concerned about the extraneous and excessive non-security related funds contained within the Global War on Terror supplemental spending bill currently under consideration in the Congress. If you choose to veto this measure over this spending, we will vote to sustain your veto.