Thursday, May 24, 2007

House passes war spending, domestic spending measures and a minimum wage increase

The supplemental spending bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan passed the House today primarily with Republican votes, 280-142 . A majority of Democrats, including Speaker Pelosi and Appropriations Chair David Obey, voted against it. In what was the only silver lining, the House also passed the first minimum wage increase (the current federal wage floor of $5.15 an hour will go to $7.25 in three separate installments of 70 cents) in more than a decade, 348-73, along with some domestic spending.

In accordance with the rule governing debate for the amendments that was passed, the House held two votes on the bill: one vote on the war spending (including $17 billion in spending above what the administration originally sought for military and veterans' health care) and another vote on the minimum wage increase and $8 billion in domestic spending, including hurricane relief and low-income children's health coverage. The Senate will vote on the bill as one soon

terestingly, the same rule also requires a September vote on the withdrawal bill proposed by Rep. Jim McGovern and de-authorization of the use of force in Iraq.

Also, Appropriations defense subcommittee Chairman John Murtha said he plans a September appropriations debate on how the war will continue to be funded in a supplemental spending bill. That will be combined with the regular fiscal year 2008 defense appropriations bill.

September is when General Petraeus will make a report on progress in Iraq and it is expected that at least a few more Republicans backing President Bush now may rebel on future war votes if there is not much to report on that front. This will probably be small comfort to the U.S. troops that die in the next four months and their families, however.

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