It's All Heating UP
July 5th, 2010 by David K. Rehbein
The fighting in Afghanistan heats up along with the summer and so do the politics. Congress is home on their Indepence Day recess for a week. If nothing else gets accomplished during their week at home, the political action will ratchet up one more notch as November approaches with Election Day looming large. As the summer and the political season both up, the intensity of the fighting in Afghanistan will increase. Question: Can our elected representatives summon the political will to keep that fight separate from the one going on in their district back home? The major concern right now is the supplemental appropriation for to fund the troops in Afghanistan for FY10. In early March, an article reprinted from Defense Daily by the JustForeignPolicy blog stated the following:
Congress is expected to start considering in mid-April President Barack Obama’s $33 billion request for supplemental war funding for the current fiscal year, which is expected to be approved without any major skirmishes.that included a statement by Secretary of the Army John McHugh:
Army Secretary John McHugh said his service can fund the wars through the end of June or beginning of July, at which point it will need the supplemental funding for the remainder of FY ’10.It is probably unfortunate that Secretary McHugh told Congress how long the Army could operate without the money. If you haven't noticed, it is now the beginning of July and the appropriation has not yet been finished. Work has been done, the Senate and House have each passed a version but not the same version so now differences need to be worked out. You see, the appropriations bill is actually in the words of the House Appropriations Committee chairman David Obey "the 2010 supplemental appropriations bill for efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Haiti and pressing domestic needs". It's those Pressing Domestic Needs where the problem arises. While there are a number of additions the House has made after the Senate approved their version, the major addition is nearly $15 billion dollars for the Education Jobs Fund and Pell Grant funding. Are these important issues, pressing needs? I presume they are or else why would the House add them and the President issue a statement according to the Kaiser Family Foundation that he would veto the appropriation if it slashes education reform funding. The real question though is "Is this issue of sufficient importance to hold up the funding for the troops?", or is it just that the war supplemental is a handy vehicle to pull along some other folks political priorities. Your call, I won't debate that here but feel free in your comments. But if it is, then why isn't is important enough to stand on it's own. Here we are though, at Sec. McHugh's original deadline. Was he smart enough to build in wiggle room. I hope he was smart enough to do that. If not, he doesn't have much experience with Congress and politicians. No one believes this will become an easier decision as more time passes and that election looms larger and larger. It is time to get this done. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, should be more important than supporting the troops in the days and fights that are coming. It is apparent that some of our elected officials don't support the war. All right, but they are part of the government that sent our troops to fight that war. They can't decide now to wash their hands of it and step aside. Even worse, they can't say, "Well, as long as you spend the money on this program of mine, I will vote to approve the money for the troops." That last comes from pure politics and looking to be re-elected and is unworthy of any member of the leadership of a country during wartime. Those troops out there around the world but especially right now in Afghanistan are there at the orders of their Commander-in-Chief and the request of their country. That job must never be used for political purposes. RNC Chairman Steele is learning that as have others before him and I'm sure others to come. Politics is a necessary part of government but keeping the mission of our troops free of that process and keeping the funding to do the mission they have been assigned out of that process is imperative.
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