Emergency supplemental spending bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other purposes (H.R. 1591)/Presidential veto override
house Roll Call 276 May 02, 2007
This vote was on whether to override President Bush's May 1 veto of a mid-year funding bill for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The legislation would have provided $124.2 billion for "emergency" funding for fiscal 2007, including $95.5 billion for the ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bush vetoed the legislation because of its inclusion of a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraq by the end of March 2008. The timetable stipulated that ground troops would have to be withdrawn from that country by the end of 2007 if the president couldn't certify that the Iraqi government is meeting certain benchmarks.
In order for Congress to override a veto, both Houses have to sustain a two-thirds majority.
The seventh "emergency" spending bill to make its way through Congress during President Bush's term, the bill would have sent another $124.3 billion towards the Iraq war effort while taking steps toward ending the 4-year-old conflict. Another, more massive supplemental spending bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was expected in the fall. ("Emergency" supplemental appropriations bills are so named because they are handled outside of the regular annual Congressional processes that fund the activities of the U.S. government and therefore don't have to abide by normal budget rules.)
In addition to the military funding, the legislation would also raise the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour over the next two years, the first wage hike in a decade, as well as provide $4.8 billion in small-business tax incentives. The measure also included money for veterans' health care, recovery for the areas affected by the 2005 hurricanes, children's health care as well as Homeland Security initiatives.
Although many provisions in the legislation were controversial, none was more divisive than the timetable for withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq.
Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) said that the fact is "that this bill is first, last and foremost about the war. It is about how we get our troops out of the war."
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) countered that imposing a timetable for withdrawal would be mark "retreating over the horizon," and will come with "frightening strategic consequences."
"This fighting will spill into neighboring countries, threaten our allies and then spread throughout the Middle East," Ros-Lehtinen continued, adding that the result would be a "humanitarian crisis."
Democrats pointed out that Iraq is already experiencing a civil war and the presence of U.S. ground troops only seems to be exacerbating the situation.
In the end, the Democrats did not have votes to override Bush's veto, falling far short of the two-thirds needed. Seven Democrats broke with their party and voted against overriding, while two Republicans crossed over to vote to withdrawal. Thus, by a vote of 222 to 203, legislation to fund continuing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan with a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq by March 2008 failed to muster the two-thirds majority needed to override the president's veto, and the legislation died in its current form. In order to fund the military operations, Congress then had to once again move legislation to do so through both the House and the Senate.
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