JERRY LEWIS (R-CA) Is crowing that the Congress is finally sending a good bill to the president after being held hostage to the Out of Iraq Caucus. Shorter Republicrook: Boo!
LEWIS: Whining that Pelosi says she will vote against. Urges yes vote on Obey Amendment to fund troops, even though he thinks Obey will vote against. Urges voting against Obey's Katrina relief amendment.
DAVID SCOTT (D-GA): Urging yes vote on amendment to fund relief for families, it's not pork. But go ahead and vote for the supplemental war funding.
STEN HOYER (D-SATAN): This is the guy who allegedly brokered a backroom Blue Dog deal with the White House to surrender. This is the guy who went on television weeks ago to say that the Dems would capitulate to the President, undercutting Murtha's short leash proposal, before the original supplemental had even been passed. If there's a corrupt Democrat in need of serious reform, this is it. His district is in Maryland, not Alabama. Hoyer lying and saying this bill is good, and is not a "blank check" or "rubber stamp." He argues non-binding benchmarks are somehow okay because they president did not want them. Says the president would veto anything else and therefore they could do nothing else. Calls this accountability (Buy him a dictionary!). Blah blah blah.
HOYER: (it must be sports metaphor day) "We have moved the ball forward." We also have minimum wage other important stuff here, including Katrina relief. Yay.
5:31 PM EST
BILL YOUNG (R-FL): Murtha and I are friends, but we don't agree on everything. The troops win today. I'm a nice man. Vote for the occupation funding as is.
BARBARA LEE (D-CA): How many have to die before this congress stops writing blank checks? (Talking fast; she's pissed) Vote against this bill.
McCAUL (R-TX): War is good. Now we need other language to deal with flu pandemic outbreak. Must prepare now.
OBEY: Administration refused to allow pandemic flu funding, and since Bush is our Master, we could not do that, either.
LYNN WOOLSEY (D-CA): We were elected to hold administration accountable and we're failing then public, and failing the troops as well, and their families. Today is not an opportunity to declare victory. Today is day to grieve soldiers lost to this war and president.
LEWIS: Some question about the procedure on earmarks with under which supplemental appears before House. (Is there a parliamentarian in the house?).
OBEY: Responds. Not unusual procedure. Rules do not apply to amendments (what rules? LEWIS is on offense to label this bill as pork laden, it seems).
MURTHA (D-PA): Supporting the bill he and Bill Young worked out. We did everything we could to work this out. Did all we could do. I feel direction change in the air. Iraqis, administration. New political diplomatic effort. Meanwhile, we have to fund the troops. They will run out of money in the next few weeks. We have to do this. Goes over some of the elements in the bill. Equipment, family housing, support for military families. Other stuff, he's rattling this off. Money for Walter Reed, etc. Short ter problem to fund military for next four months. Longer term need to work on nurse shortage, doctor shortages (do you think if we stopped these kids from getting killed, we'd help their health?). By September we can judge where we are. (Sing it with me: See You In September). The situation in Iraq will not improve, but it's necessary to wait until September anyway. This is very painful, we're making progress, we have to take what we can get. I hope everyone votes for both bills.
5:45 PM EST
CHARLES BOUSTANY (R-LA): My state needs these additional funds. State department also urgently needs these funds to help promote reconciliation in Iraq.
CHRIS SHAYS (R-CT): We went into Iraq in bipartisan fashion, we need to get out the same way. I think the process needs to be bipartisan. Murtha claimed he's been right 100% of the time, it's not true. Let;s judge progress not on incidents over there, but now Anbar province is doing well. Progress! Sunni' like us! They don't want us to leave (maybe because we're on their side – Sunnis – in civil war?). If we don't succeed, it will be our own fault because we did not sustain support. Sunnis Shias and Kurds starting to talk to each other, it's like a 6th grade dance (never saw all that blood in my school, how bout you?). We have moral obligation to stick with them since we invaded.
MURTHA: Iraqi legislature on a two month vacation. So STFU. It's not getting better. Murtha getting enraged about soldier deaths. Says Shays is not looking at reality.
SHAYS: They won't take two months off. Will probably take less time than this Congress has taken.
ROY BLUNT (R-MO): It's about time we got this done. Could have been written three months ago. Since then, military has had to tighten belt. This bill needs to include benchmarks with consequences for Iraqis to step up, and we have that in this bil. Deadline for regional elections, or there are consequences (what, more Friedman units?). They must end sectarian violence, protect minority rights in politics (what else, win American Idol? Why not make some more shit up?). So we need to let the commanders in the field do what they need to do, our job is to give them that.
OBEY: Blunt was whip last year and took at least as long. He's calling kettle black. This is democracy. We don't have rubber stamp congress anymore (really?). The delay was not caused by congress, we were done already. President blocked funds when he vetoed the bill.
5:57 PM EST
OBEY: Want to thank staff members. It took a tremendous amount of work to do all this, their names never get out and they never get credit (hey, please give us their names!).
JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH): Glad we are finally here. Our military is fighting for our freedom and security. Put yourself in the shoes of men and women fighting in Iraq and around the world. What message have we sent them for 100+ days? We have undermined their efforts, their morale and sent wrong message to our allies and our enemies. No surrender dates or artificial deadlines. Generals have the support they need to win in Iraq (please define, winning in Iraq?). Winning is important to our country. We went to Iraq to get rid of a brutal dictator and eliminate WMD. They were shipped somewhere else (fantasyland!). We're succeeding. Al Qaeda has made Iraq central front o war with us. If we don;t fight them there, where do we draw the line? They will come to America (paging Eddie Murphy!).
BOEHNER: We have questioned these last 100 days if we should have gone. Too late for that. We need to support. The rest of this bill has 20 billion in spending, well meaning, but does not belong in this bill, does not belong to be put on backs of troops. I will have to vote no. I know there are differences in this chamber. (slowing down, it's Ted Wells tears! Give Scooter back!) When are we going to have the courage to defeat this enemy!?? Thank you for the commitment to get the job done today.
SPEAKER PELOSI (D-CA): We have opportunity to help Katrina victims, veterans, veterans families, raise minimum wage. We strengthen our country addressing health and wellbeing of neglected Americans.
PELOSI: These benchmarks do not meet needs of our troops because the benchmarks can be waived. It's a figleaf, a token. We should have a giant step forward into a new direction, not a small step. Needs timelines and consequences. I will not support it. Democrats want much better. This is a missed opportunity. President rejected our previous bill, doing even more for our troops and military. Troops are engaged in a civil war. The American people do not think we need to be in a civil war, but rather fighting terrorism, training Iraqis and protecting our diplomats. But combat in a civil war, we have lost thousands of Americans. Over 100,000 Iraqis at least. Huge cost to reputation and military readiness.
PELOSI: We need a different vision of our role in Middle East. Any strategy must begin with redeployment out of Iraq, according to retired generals. Must refocus on terrorism, and Afghanistan. We musty heed General Odom and other. Troops have performed excellently. They have made tremendous sacrifices. We honor veterans not just with words but actions. The defense authorization bill we endorse give the troops and their families what they need, benefits. President said this increase was unnecessary. The White House says $40 per month for survivors of lost troops unnecessary, but the families say it's not nearly enough.
PELOSI: We make our veterans a priority, put real actions and support behind veterans and the VA. In our spending priorities, even with paygo, we put veterans in the top of the list. This is not about whether we support our troops. Of course we do. But it is about opposing this war. We have to put this bill to the floor so we can go forward, but the debate will continue, and we will have other bills to debate. We will have legislation to repeal the president's authority to go to war in Iraq. Defense Appropriation bill as well.
PELOSI: I come here today sad we have missed an opportunity. American people 70% want accountability, but we only make a gesture. We could have taken a giant step in a new direction, but instead, a baby step. Quote Hannah Arendt on flywheel of violence. President is sewing more violence. However you vote, please listen to American people and bring this war to an end.
6:18 PM EST DEBATE ENDS. QUORUM CALL.
Additional funding amendment passes. (links to roll call of votes h/t TeddySanFran. The Clerk messed up and reversed the roll calls, it seems. The numbers aren't right, but I'll leave them as is because if the clerk makes a correction, they may get reversed on me again. Oy!)
My .02: Don't quit, folks. Fight. FDL sure will.