For two weeks, the bill that would fund U.S. troops' continued fight against insurgents and terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq has been on hold. Holding it up is a provision President Barack Obama decided to insert that would allow China to dig its claws deeper into the U.S. economy while funding countries that support terrorist organizations our troops are trained to defeat.
The provision would provide $108 billion in U.S. funds to the International Monetary Fund. But because the U.S. is in debt, the money would have to be borrowed. China is the United States' largest creditor. It is more than likely that the borrowed funds would come from China.
The IMF would then lend the money the U.S. borrowed from China - but for which U.S. taxpayers are responsible and would be paying interest on - to other countries, including such anti-U.S. states as Iran, Syria and Venezuela. Before the Lebanese elections, even Hezbollah, which is on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations, was discussing a loan from the IMF.
When the Afghanistan/Iraq emergency funding bill passed the House on a strong bipartisan vote, it did not include the president's provision and I voted for it. It was a good bill and would have provided crucial resources for fighting insurgents and terrorists. After the bill passed the House, it went to the Senate where the provision was inserted at the president's request. Now, House leadership wants the House to vote on the bill again with the president's language.
To help pay for the provision, the majority party cut $5 billion originally allocated to our troops. It is unconscionable that a bill that provides crucial resources to our armed forces in harm's way would be exploited to also provide valuable U.S. resources to countries that would like nothing more than to destroy us.
By saying that if we can't pass a bill for $108 billion for the IMF, then we are not supporting our troops is exploiting our troops for political ends and holding support for them hostage. It is shameless. I am on record with the majorities on both sides in supporting needed resources for our troops. But I will not allow us to be forced into supporting $108 billion of unrelated funding - much of which will go to our enemies - to pass this bill.
A look at some of the countries that would benefit from U.S. taxpayers tells the story.
Iran is a terrorist state. In May, Iran tested a missile capable of hitting targets in Israel and U.S. bases in the Persian Gulf region. Iran is also seeking to build a nuclear weapon in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which it signed, and near-universal condemnation from the world. Iran is a major sponsor of the terrorist organization Hamas.
Syria is a major sponsor of terrorist organizations, too, including Hezbollah and Hamas. Syria and Iran also aided the insurgency in Iraq.
Venezuela also has aligned itself with Iran. Its leader, strongman Hugo Chavez, supports the Colombian drug cartels with Venezuela's oil money.
China remains the world's largest closed and tightly controlled communist country. It declared a blackout on news of the recent 20th anniversary of Tiananmen Square.
China also refuses to recognize the debt its current government inherited when the communists took control in 1949. That debt includes about $260 billion on bonds issued by the former Republic of China.
Of that, more than 300 Americans are owed nearly $100 billion from bonds on which the People's Republic of China has defaulted. While ignoring its debt to U.S. taxpayers, it now owns a sizable amount of the U.S. debt and, earlier this year, tried to dictate terms of our economic recovery.
And the restructured General Motors, which Obama bailed out with U.S. tax dollars, will be building nearly a quarter of its cars in China and other countries as part of the deal, exporting U.S. jobs with U.S. tax dollars to China. China also will not loan to the IMF.
The anti-American IMF provision has no place in a bill to pay for the war against our enemies. Our troops deserve a clean bill that supports their efforts on our behalf.
If the IMF provision is so important, it can stand on its own and be vetted through House and Senate committees, debated in both chambers and voted on, instead of being slipped surreptitiously into a must-pass bill. This is politics at its worst.