Sunday, May 30, 2010

When is a Defense Appropriations Bill Not Defense Appropriations Bill?

Why when the Democrats craft it, of course.

Last week Congress passed an emergency defense appropriations bill to fund the ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Well, at least that is what the title of the bill said.

In reality, the majority of the bill was spending on domestic issues and handouts to the Democrat voters. The message is clear. Vote Democrat or suffer.
In the House, Obama's $63 billion request for war funding, disaster relief and aid to nations like earthquake-ravaged Haiti and war-torn Afghanistan has swelled to $84 billion under a draft measure being readied for a key panel vote on Thursday.

Democrats such as House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., are pushing $23 billion to help school districts avoid teacher layoffs, along with $6 billion to make up for a funding shortfall in Pell grants for low-income college students and lesser amounts to hire border patrol agents and help Mexico fight drug cartels.
So, Mr. Obey, how do you feel about Arizona's immigration law? Oh wait, Arizona bad, Congress good.

Okay, let's start doing some math. I know, it makes my head hurt, too.

Dems added $11 billion to the original. Of the $84 billion we have $29 billion so far for teachers salaries and Pell grants. 84 minus 29 equals 55.
$5 billion to replenish disaster aid accounts, as well as funding for Haitian earthquake relief, and a downpayment on aid to flood-drenched Tennessee and Rhode Island.
$55 billion minus another $5 billion equals $50 billion.
The bill includes $1 billion for summer jobs programs, $1.5 billion in aid to farmers who had crops damaged by natural disasters and $4.6 billion to settle two long-running lawsuits against the government, one by black farmers claiming discrimination and one by American Indians over the government's management of their land.
So let me see here, another $7 billion for some feel-good projects bringing the total for defense to $43 billion.

So, how much is actually going to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?
The Senate measure, currently being debated on the floor, blends about $30 billion for President Barack Obama's 30,000-troop surge in Afghanistan...
You read that right. Slightly more then 1/3 of the money approved will actually go to the ongoing military operations. But hey, don't worry, the gubmint gots plenty of money and it is an election year after all.
In all, the bill would add $134 billion to the federal budget deficit, drawing opposition from Republicans and some Democrats. House leaders said Tuesday they were determined to pass the bill this week to avoid allowing jobless benefits to expire for thousands of people.
Wait, I thought this was a Defense Appropriations Bill? Last time I checked, the service members deployed overseas were not receiving unemployment payments.

The Republicans are not without fault either. While proposing a total appropriations less then the Democrat version they also want money for other things besides defense.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas is just on of several Republicans seeking to add money for border security. He's offered a $2 billion amendment to award grants to state and local law enforcement agencies, provide new unmanned surveillance aircraft, and hire hundreds of immigration and border agents, among other steps.
So in the end, money to pay teachers and fund Pell grants is getting as much money as will actually go to defense.

Obviously, there was far more non defense spending in the bill then the paper had room or time to list but it shows the cowardice of our elected officials. They were on the one hand afraid to vote against legislation because it did contain money to fund our military operations but on the other hand went ahead on piled on the pet projects.

You can vote no on funds for the military when there is stuff not designed to benefit the military. Really, you can. If you are adamant about giving the defense department the money they need to operate you pass a simple bill doing just that and leave out all the junk.

Try it. You might like it, and in so doing might just set a precedent.

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