Republicans Predict Supplemental Failure

Posted June 17, 2008 at 5:08pm

As House Democratic leaders prepare to take a second stab at advancing a war supplemental, Republican leaders are once again promising failure. But none of them would explicitly say they would vote against it.

“We’re now back in an obvious veto strategy,” said House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), arguing that Democratic leaders were creating a package with the intent of drawing a presidential veto. “Whatever we’re going to vote on this week is not going to become law.”

Blunt said Democrats know “exactly how this is going to work out” by advancing a war spending bill that contains domestic items, referring to a White House veto threat against anything other than a clean spending bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Blunt’s comments come as Democrats are expected to unveil a supplemental this week that resembles the version that passed the House on a party-line vote. The Senate later passed a different version.

But the portion of the House bill actually funding the war was defeated by anti-war Democrats and Republicans who voted “present” to protest procedural maneuvering.

That measure included a $52 billion GI bill expansion and extended unemployment benefits, plus a tax increase on the wealthy. Democrats are aiming to bring the package to the House floor on Wednesday. The tax increase was stripped from the Senate version of the bill, which was approved before the Memorial Day recess.

Blunt said Democrats essentially are bringing the same bill forward again to try to make Republicans look bad for voting against providing assistance to veterans and people without jobs.

“They’d rather have a vote that’s clearly about politics” instead of passing legislation, said the GOP Whip.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) suggested it is “nothing less than a disgrace” for Democrats to bring forward a troop funding bill that they know will fail.

“This would be the second time the Democratic leadership brings up a nearly identical bill they know has no chance of passing the Senate, let alone being signed into law,” Boehner said. “They are shamelessly using and abusing our troops to satisfy radical constituencies.”

House Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (Fla.) said he wanted to wait to see the bill’s language before committing to oppose it.

Asked if he would vote against the bill if it were the same version as before, Putnam only said, “We want to see our troops get funded.”

Still, the GOP Conference Chairman said Republicans “are tired of the games” and chided Democrats for playing a “political game of keep-away” by refusing to allow a vote on a clean war spending bill.