What: All Issues : War & Peace : H.R. 3289. Fiscal 2004 Supplemental Appropriations for Iraq and Afghanistan/Vote on Instruct House Conferees to Transform Half of Iraq's $20 Billion Reconstruction Budget from a Grant to a Loan. (2003 house Roll Call 567)
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H.R. 3289. Fiscal 2004 Supplemental Appropriations for Iraq and Afghanistan/Vote on Instruct House Conferees to Transform Half of Iraq's $20 Billion Reconstruction Budget from a Grant to a Loan.
house Roll Call 567     Oct 21, 2003
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

Earlier in the congressional session, both the House and the Senate completed work on the administration's $87 billion supplemental spending request for costs associated with military and reconstruction operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the two versions of the legislation differed in certain respects and a conference committee was convened to reconcile differences between the two bills (if legislation passes the House and Senate in different forms, lawmakers from each legislative body are selected by the party leadership to hash out a conference report; Congress's final legislative product). One major area of difference involved the structure of reconstruction funding for Iraq. In the Senate's version, half of Iraq's reconstruction budget was in the form of a grant and the other half was a loan (in both versions, the total reconstruction budget was about $20 billion). In the House's version, all of Iraq's reconstruction budget was in the form of a grant (unlike a loan, the recipient of a grant does not need to repay the money). The subject of this vote was an Obey (D-WI) motion to instruct House conferees to transform half of Iraq's reconstruction budget into a loan when drafting the final version of the legislation. In other words, David Obey and other Democrats wanted the conference version of the supplemental bill to mirror the Senate's language regarding the structure of reconstruction financing for Iraq. Progressives voted in support of Obey's motion because, in their view, U.S. taxpayers were shouldering too heavy a burden for military and reconstruction operations in Iraq. In their view, President Bush's "go-it-alone" strategy had needlessly alienated potential allies who would have been inclined to help the U.S.-either financially or militarily or both-during both the Iraqi conflict and the post-war reconstruction. Conservatives opposed Obey's motion and argued that with no Iraqi government in place, a loan would be meaningless because no institution could be held responsible for its repayment. On a vote of 277-139, Obey's motion was adopted and House conferees were instructed to adopt the Senate's loan provisions when drafting the final version of the supplemental spending bill.

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