Blumenauer Votes Against Defense Appropriations Bill

Earl Blumenauer today was the only US Representative from Oregon to vote against the Department of Defense Appropriations Bill for 2008, declaring that he would not vote for any funding for Iraq unless it was used to withdraw troops.

From Blumenauer's website:

Today Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore) voted against the Conference Report on H.R. 3222, the Fiscal Year 2008 Department of Defense Appropriations bill, honoring a pledge he made in August not to support more war funding unless it is for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

“Today I had no choice but to vote against the Defense Appropriations bill. 2007 has become the deadliest year yet for American soldiers in Iraq,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “Instead of winding down, this nightmare continues to escalate. I will do everything I can to bring the war to an end, and that means honoring my pledge to vote against any further funding for the Iraq war unless it is used for immediate troop redeployment.”

Congressman Blumenauer has opposed the Iraq war from the start. In January he introduced his own legislation, “The New Direction for Iraq Act of 2007,” which would require the redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq, a new diplomatic offensive to stabilize Iraq and aggressive efforts at oversight and accountability.

Blumenauer was one of only 13 Representatives to vote against the bill. Representatives Peter DeFazio, Darlene Hooley, Greg Walden, and David Wu all voted in favor of the appropriations. DeFazio disagreed with Blumenauer that the funding would be used for Iraq.

From the Oregonian:

DeFazio said the bill funds the Defense Department's operating budget and that the costs of the war would be funded by a separate bill, which the House is scheduled to vote on tomorrow.

"I believe in having a Department of Defense and a Pentagon," DeFazio said. "There's programs in there I would like to cut back or eliminate. But I support paying the troops and providing them with health care. I support the $12 billion that's in there for improved armored vehicles. There's a number of good things in that bill."

DeFazio said he will only vote for tomorrow's war funding bill if it contains a hard time line to end the war.

What do you think? Was Blumenauer right to vote against the bill?


  • (Show?)

    Assuming that DeFazio's assertion is correct about Iraq War funding being done separately then I would have to say that I agree with him on this.

  • Not Another Dime (unverified)

    From Congressional Quarterly:

    “The measure also contains a continuing appropriations resolution that would temporarily fund the government through December 14. The current continuing resolution (PL 110-92) expires November 16. The continuing resolution in this agreement would allow the Pentagon to spend prorated portions of the $70 billion FY 2007 bridge fund for Iraq operations.”

    That seems like money for the Iraq War for at least another month.

  • (Show?)


    I support the $12 billion that's in there for improved armored vehicles.

    That $12 billion is to build something like 8,000 MRAP vehicles, which are really only needed if plans are to have significant numbers of troops patrolling areas where there are IEDs.

    8,000 MRAP vehicles are enough to carry somewhere between 40,000 and 80,000 troops.

    And needless to say, they're not going to be buying them off the shelf, it's going to take time for them to get built.

    If we started to bring the troops out of Iraq now, they'd be out before most of the MRAPs were on the scene.

    I'm all for building MRAPS if the intention is to drive everyone safely out of Iraq in one, and there should be a supply of them on hand for future conflicts. But it looks to me as if it's simply planning for an extended occupation.

  • anon (unverified)

    This vote isn't anything new. Since he's been elected Blumenauer has never voted for any DOD funding bill. He seems to be using his opposition to military funding to make it look like he's finally standing up to the Bush administration. Where was this backbone earlier this week when he was the only Congressman from Oregon who voted against considering the Cheney impeachment bill? It looks like this just a conversation changer.

  • Dexter (unverified)

    I think that CQ story is either out of date or is inaccurate. It is my understanding that the regular DOD appropriations bill did not contain any funding to continue the war. In fact, it actually ended the ability of the Pentagon to use slush funds that were provided in prior bills that could otherwise have been redirected to continue the war effort. Besides, Congress appropriated nearly $100 billion for the war effort in late May (DeFazio, Blumenauer, Hooley and Wu all voted no). The war is costing around $10 billion a month. Therefore, there isn't any need for additional funding this month or next. The previously appropriated money should last into early next year. And, as the Oregonian story mentioned, there will be a vote on another bill with a timeline to end the war perhaps as early as Friday. This vote will be the real test of Congress' commitment to ending the war.

  • Free Traitor (unverified)

    Standing up to the Bush administration? Blumenauer? Ha!

    Too bad there's nothing on Blue Oregon about Blumenauer's failed effort to unite the party around supporting Bush's trade policy. Blumenauer helped broker the deal to include pathetic language around workers rights in the Peru Free Trade Agreement. Thankfully, fellow Democrats did not fall for this, and a majority voted against this bill this morning. The bill passed, but Defazio got it right:

    "The dollar is dropping like a rock. We're borrowing $2 billion a day from overseas to buy things that we don't make in America anymore. We've lost 4 million manufacturing jobs nationally, and 40,000 jobs here in Oregon due to so-called free trade policies. Millions of middle class Americans are seeing their pay go stagnate or decline. Our current trade policy is a dismal failure. It's a failed engine for America's economy."

    "Now along comes the Peru Free Trade agreement. The advocates say the burgeoning middle class in Peru are going to be a huge market for the goods that we don't make in America anymore. They tout the breakthroughs on modest environmental and labor provisions, but the destructive multi-national corporate-written chapter 11 core, that lead to the failure of NAFTA, CAFTA, and other trade agreements, remains at the center of this policy. This agreement is by, for, and about Wall Street, plain and simple. It's not in the best interest of American workers, the U.S. economy, or our national security."

    "If trade is the engine that drives our economy, we need an overhaul. Instead, with this bill, we're getting a new hood ornament, some side view mirrors and a misbegotten cousin of NAFTA as a trade policy."

    Blumenauer has succeeded in helping Bush, dividing the Democrats, screwing over US and Peruvian workers, and ensuring that I will never vote for him again.

  • (Show?)

    Earl was absolutely right to vote against the bill.

    Beyond the issue of the war in Iraq, the bill is bloated with unnecessary spending. It includes $1.8 to $6.6 billion in pork barrel earmark projects that even the Defense Department did not request (see here and here ). It includes $8.5 billion in continued development of the unworkable (and destabilizing, if workable) missile defense system. It continues to fund a variety of air and navel weapons systems as if there were still a Soviet Empire to fear. The US has no near peer competitor and does not need many of those weapon systems.

    Quite simply, those Pentagon dollars are needed for other higher priorities. Right on, Earl!!!!

  • (Show?)

    "Where was this backbone earlier this week when he was the only Congressman from Oregon who voted against considering the Cheney impeachment bill?"

    Excellent question since Earl was the only one from Oregon--including Walden--who voted against even having a debate. A debate!

    Thanks for the thumb in the eye, Earl!

    Keep triangulating like this--"We were lied into a war I'm trying to stop but won't hold the instigators accountable for!"--and you'll certainly prove your qualifications to serve the Clinton admin as Sec. of Transportation!

  • David McDonald (unverified)

    Yeah, Earl don't always get it right. He should be calling for Cheney's impeachment for sure. However; he hit the nail on the head in opposition of more war dollars for Bush.

  • (Show?)

    The Iraq war has not been in the DoD appropriations bills to date, including this one. The war has been funded through emergency supplemental bills and kept off budget. Earl is trying to spin this as a "Stand tough against the war" claptrap when it is no such thing.

    <h2>This isn't the first time Earl has played loose with facts in order to confabulate a story for the part base such as when he claimed that Lieberman can flip control of the Senate to the GOP if he bolts (hence why we can't impeach Cheney/Bush).</h2>
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