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Democrats Buy War From Bush and Use it to Fund Projects for their Constituents

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Pelosi is Bringing Home the Guacamole to California -- With $1.2 Billion in Aid to Avocado Growers on the Backs of U.S. Soldiers in Iraq

The Democrats Iraq War may be even more disgusting than the Republicans. They are using it as a Christmas tree to fund a host of projects that they could not get funded in any other way.

The Democrats have reportedly decided to pass the Iraq War supplemental with meaningless restrictions designed to embarrass the president rather than end the war or bring the troops home safely. They will require the president to explain why he is using troops that are not combat ready, rather than stopping him from doing so. See

The article reports: "Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly said the goal was "to get consensus within the caucus on this" and "pass the war funding bill."

So, while the Democrats claim to be passing the supplemental to support the troops they are providing funds to allow non-combat ready troops, who will be ill equipped be sent into a quagmire with no clear goal in a war that cannot be won and is not supported by the American public.

The Democrats say they are providing the funding "for the troops" but now that they have decided to pass the supplemental - essentially giving a president they constantly criticize as irresponsible another $93 billion on top of the $420 billion already provided - their other agenda is becoming clear.

The Associated Press reports that the Democrats plan to use the Iraq War to fund projects for their constituents. The Democrats illegal war in Iraq - they are in the process of buying it from the President Bush so we may as well start calling it "The Democrats War" - will be a Christmas present for California's avocado growers and others. The Speaker of the House, who is based in California, is bringing home the guacamole - more than $1 billion in aid to California avocado growers on the backs of U.S. troops!

The Associated Press (full article below) is reporting that the Democrats "hope to load this measure up with $10 billion in add-ons, from aid for avocado growers to help for children lacking health insurance. Lawmakers also hope to add money for drought relief in the Great Plains, better levees in New Orleans and development of military bases that are closing down." Maybe some of these projects can be justified, but they should be justified on their own not on the backs of U.S. soldiers risking life and limb.

The Democrats are confident they can get these billions in tax payer give-a-ways through because the Republicans will not vote against the war funding and Bush will not veto it. Who knows what giveaways will be added by other Members of Congress as this bill works its way through the House and Senate. Pork barrel politics on the backs of U.S. soldiers makes an already ugly war even more ugly.

The Democrats may find the political price is higher than they expect. The public wants the war to end, they don't like tax dollars given to campaign contributors. So, the Democrats in less than two months in power are abusing their majority status - using the war to fund projects for their friends.

Is this why the voters gave the Democrats majority power in both Houses?

* * * *

Democrats to Load Iraq Bill With Add-Ons

The Associated Press
Wednesday, February 28, 2007; 4:39 PM

WASHINGTON -- While Democrats try to restrict how President Bush can spend the $100 billion he wants for Iraq, they also hope to load this measure up with $10 billion in add-ons, from aid for avocado growers to help for children lacking health insurance.

Lawmakers also hope to add money for drought relief in the Great Plains, better levees in New Orleans and development of military bases that are closing down.

The expected battle with the White House over the add-ons is getting far less attention than debate over Iraq, but it could reveal a lot about how much Democrats will be able to rewrite the Republican president's budget later this year.

Bush has yet to veto a spending bill, and Democrats are gambling he'll sign the Iraq measure despite objections to spending he didn't seek. Republicans, meanwhile, may be reluctant to vote against the package since it contains funds for U.S. troops overseas.

Lawmakers from the Great Plains are pressing for about $4 billion in disaster aid for farmers suffering under drought conditions.

The California delegation is demanding help for citrus, avocado and other Central Valley farmers facing $1.2 billion in losses from a devastating January freeze. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is a powerful ally in the effort to win the region unemployment, food and housing aid.
Gulf Coast lawmakers want $1.3 billion above the $3.4 billion requested by Bush for hurricane relief. Northwest lawmakers are desperate for about $400 million to extend payments to rural counties hurt by cutbacks in federal logging.

And governors are pressing for $745 million to address a shortfall in the State Children's Health Insurance Program that threatens to deny health coverage for about 500,000 children in 14 states. House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., promised Tuesday that SCHIP money will be added to the Iraq bill.

Obey also has promised to add $3.1 billion for local communities affected by military base closings and for redeployment of 12,000 troops stationed in Germany and South Korea to domestic bases. To free funds for Democratic initiatives, that money was left out of a spending bill approved earlier in February.

Both Democrats and Republicans are pushing extra spending into the war funding bill as they seek to advance domestic priorities that would probably stall if advanced on their own.

That's not what the White House says should happen.
"This supplemental is about emergency spending for the global war on terror and we need to make sure we stay on that track," said budget office spokesman Sean Kevelighan.

Added House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio: "Our focus must be on supporting our troops in harm's way _ without strings attached _ not on using a military spending bill as an excuse to fund pork-barrel projects and other unrelated projects."
Bush and GOP leaders on Capitol Hill managed to keep prior war funding bills largely free of such budgetary add-ons when Republicans controlled Congress. Now that Democrats are in charge, the party's leaders are eager to use the cost of the war as leverage to force Bush to accept spending _ such as aid to farmers _ that he has successfully killed in the past.

"It's starting to become a train onto which a lot of baggage is being thrown that has got nothing to do with the war or really legitimate emergencies," said Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H.
Countered Obey: "We will only fund what is necessary."

Whatever is added to the bill in the House is likely to grow in the freer-spending Senate.
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Kevin Zeese is co-chair of Come Home America, www.ComeHomeAmerica.US which seeks to end U.S. militarism and empire. He is also co-director of Its Our Economy, www.ItsOurEconomy.US which seeks to democratize the economy and give people greater (more...)
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