Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan will soon receive their long-awaited money from Congress.
The House of Representatives approved what should be the final bill to fund the wars in those two countries Tuesday. Defense officials warned money would start to run out in early August if lawmakers didn’t act soon.
Both the House and Senate approved initial versions of the war spending legislation. But after the first Senate bill, the House tacked on dozens of extra, domestic spending programs which hiked the bill’s price tag. Many Democrats wanted to add $20 billion to the legislation to prevent the lay-off of 140,000 thousand schoolteachers, provide Pell Grants to college students and bolster border security.
Many senators couldn’t abide the House ideas. So the Senate stripped those provisions and returned the package to the House.
The $59 billion package funds the infusion of 30,000 troops in Afghanistan. That helped court many Republicans who opposed the domestic spending provisions.
By the same token, focusing the bill exclusively on the military infuriated anti-war Democrats. When the legislation moved through the House the first time, the House Democratic leadership allowed liberal lawmakers to attempt to curb the war effort or cut off funding. None of those proposals passed.
The House approved the final version of the bill 308 to 114.
102 Democrats and 12 Republicans voted no.
The House handled this legislation under special rules that required a two-thirds vote for approval. With 422 members voting, the threshold for passage was 281 yeas.