March 23 2007, 4:54 PM
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1591, the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health and Iraq Accountability Act today. Not surprisingly, the Colorado delegation split their votes along party lines.
All four Colorado Democrats -- Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Denver; Mark Udall, D-Eldorado Springs; John Salazar, D-Manassa; and Ed Perlmutter, D-Golden -- voted in favor of the resolution. All three Colorado Republicans -- Reps. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Fort Morgan; Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs; and Tom Tancredo, R-Littleton -- were opposed.The only Congressperson I've heard from so far is Rep. Diana Degette (by e-mail.) She writes:
On Friday, March 23rd, The U.S. House of Representatives passed As you may already be aware, this critical legislation is designed to fully fund our troops â€“ including health care for returning veterans â€“ and finally set a timeline for a full military withdrawal from Iraq. This legislation will spur the government of Iraq to take the lead in addressing the challenges of the Iraqi people. It establishes benchmarks for the Iraqi government. Failure to meet these benchmarks would result in accelerating the withdrawal of U.S. forces. I voted for this legislation because it is a good-faith compromise that ensures the safety of our troops while definitively changing our course in Iraq. I believe that this plan is the beginning of a strategy by which we can finally bring a responsible end to this irresponsible war.In her e-mail, she adds that she will fight any attempt by President Bush to engage in military action against Iran without Congressional approval. President Bush has said he will veto today's bill if passed by the Senate, which will consider its own proposal. So what's in this funding bill?
The bill provides about $95.5 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as more than $20 billion in new domestic spending for such items as agricultural subsidies, veterans' health care and rebuilding efforts in Gulf Coast states hit by hurricanes two years ago. Among other things, it provides about $3.5 billion in additional funding above Bush's request to address the health care problems faced by veterans and by returning service members wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan. To help deal with an expected spring offensive by the Taliban in Afghanistan, the bill adds $1.2 billion to Bush's funding request for military operations in that country. But it also includes such expenditures as $1.3 billion to build levees in New Orleans, $500 million for wildfire suppression, $250 million for milk subsidies, $120 million for shrimp and menhaden fishermen, $75 million for peanut storage in Georgia and $25 million for spinach farmers in California.