Congress Denies Troop Funding- Army & Marines Will Plan Layoffs
Harry Reid and democrats blocked funding for the troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan in the Senate today. The democrats pushed legislation that demands a timeline to retreat from Iraq, a motion the president said he would veto.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Senate yesterday he will direct the Army and Marines to make plans for layoffs if the war funds were not approved by Congress within days.
The AP reported:
WASHINGTON – The Senate on Friday blocked a Democratic proposal to pay for the Iraq war but require that troops start coming home.
The 53-45 vote was 15 votes short of the 60 needed to advance. It came minutes after the Senate rejected a Republican proposal to pay for the Iraq war without strings attached.
(Update by AP: The 53-45 vote was seven votes short of the 60 needed to advance. It came minutes after the Senate rejected a Republican proposal to pay for the Iraq war without strings attached.)
The Republican measure failed by an identical vote.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the only way to get troops the money was to approve the restrictions outlined by Democrats.
“Our troops continue to fight and die valiantly. And our Treasury continues to be depleted rapidly, for a peace that we seem far more interested in achieving than Iraq’s own political leaders,” said Reid, D-Nev.
Republicans said Democrats were being irresponsible.
“We need to get our troops everything they need,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “We need to get it to them right now.”
Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said this week that if Congress cannot pass legislation that ties war money to troop withdrawals, they would not send Bush a bill this year.
Instead, they would revisit the issue upon returning in January, pushing the Pentagon to the brink of an accounting nightmare and deepening Democrats’ conflict with the White House on the war.
…Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday that unless Congress passes funding for the war within days, he will direct the Army and Marine Corps to begin developing plans to lay off employees and terminate contracts early next year.
He said he is faced with the undesirable task of preparing to cease operations at Army bases by mid-February, and lay off about 100,000 defense department employees and an equal number of civilian contractors. A month later, he said, similar moves would have to be made by the Marines.
The democratic House bill would end combat and also make waterboarding illegal.
Michelle Malkin has more on the emergency vote.
Weekly Standard Blog has more on the democratic games.
A Second Hand Conjecture– “The entire funding process is nothing more than gamesmanship and pocket-lining.”
UPDATE: Somebody, quick tell Harry Reid… The Brits announced today that violence had dropped 90% in Basra since early September.