Thursday, May 15, 2008

House Republicans abdicate their professional responsibilities

Earlier today, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass part of H.R. 2642, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2008. The part that they failed to pass was the part provided supplemental funding for Bush's occupation of Iraq.

I call today's move a "failure" not because I support continuing to pay for Bush's war, but because the bill wasn't defeated (though much of the MSM coverage will paint it as such), but because the Republicans basically didn't show up.

The final vote - 141 in favor, 149 opposed, 132 present.

All 132 members of the House refusing to take a stand on one of the biggest issues facing our nation today by voting present were Republicans.

As evidenced by the split in the Democratic caucus (85 yeas, 147 nays), this is an issue that deeply divides the country; the Republicans' refusal to take a stand, any stand (even one I disagree with!) nearly constitutes en masse job abandonment.

And 'job abandonment' is grounds for termination of employment.

See you in November.

By the way - the part of the measure that they failed to take a stand on is the part of the bill that would have ensured that there is money to continue paying the troops after June 15.

Can't wait to see how they spin that into "support for the troops."

Other details of today's votes -

The vote split among the Democratic members of Arizona's Congressional delegation reflected the split among the whole caucus - Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ8) and Harry Mitchell (D-AZ5) voted yea; Ed Pastor (D-AZ4) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ7) voted nay,

Among the Republicans from Arizona, only Rick Renzi (R-AZ1) took a stand, voting yea. John Shadegg (R-AZ3), Trent Franks (R-AZ2), and Jeff Flake (R-AZ6) all sat on their hands.

A second part of the bill that establishes a timeline for withdrawal passed 227 - 196, with Arizona's delegation splitting along party line - Democrats in favor, Republicans opposed.

The third and final section of the bill, containing some domestic spending such as the new G.I. Bill and unemployment relief, passed 256 - 166, with Democrats Grijalva, Giffords, Mitchell and Pastor, and Republican Renzi supporting, and Republicans Flake, Franks, and Shadegg opposing.

Note: there is an expectation that the Senate will restore the funding portion of the bill and return it to the House for another vote.

Note2: Bush has threatened to veto any supplemental bill that includes any restrictions or timelines (he's not too fond of education benefits for veterans, either.)

The Hill's coverage here.

AP coverage here.


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