Rep. Tom Petri has issued the following statement:
The House today voted on H.R. 2642, the Supplemental Appropriations Bill of 2008, by splitting the bill into three amendments, each being voted on separately.
I voted "yes" on the first amendment, which provides necessary funds for the ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our troops deserve all the resources they need, and any moves to withdraw them should be the result of an explicit policy decision - not by denying them arms, food, and medical care in the war zone. The amendment failed to pass.
I voted "no" on the second amendment, which the House approved. This amendment includes several provisions with which I agree, but I can't vote "Yes - but."
Provisions in this proposal include opposition to permanent bases in Iraq, cost-sharing requirements to be imposed on the Iraqi government, war profiteering prevention, and more. I strongly favor these provisions, and am on record against permanent bases.
The key provision includes a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. This would establish a relatively toothless goal rather than a mandate, and the easy vote would be to go along with it.
The underlying principle, however, would take us in the direction of micromanaging the war. I want to get out of Iraq, but we need to do it in a responsible way which won't result in our having to go back in in order to protect our vital interests in the region. We have effective military leadership in the war zone currently, and I don't want Congress to make it harder for that leadership to do its job.
I voted "Yes" on the third amendment, which the House approved. I have concerns about the cost, but believe that our veterans deserve expanded education benefits.