On October 15, Rep. Dave Obey (D-WI), Ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, went to the Rules Committee and sought to have his Democratic substitute to the Iraq Supplemental bill made in order by the rule. The Obey substitute does more than the GOP bill to support our troops and encourages international participation in stabilizing and rebuilding Iraq. And the substitute does so at less cost to middle-class taxpayers.
Specifically, the Obey substitute includes the following provisions:
• Reducing Iraqi reconstruction funding by $4.6 billion, by eliminating nonessential items;
• Using the $4.6 billion in savings from Iraqi reconstruction to better meeting the needs of our armed forces in Iraq;
• Creating better accountability of the supplemental funds, including requiring notification of all noncompetitive bidding;
• Providing that half of the total remaining Iraqi reconstruction funds ($7 billion) is transferred to a trust fund at the World Bank – with those funds available as loans to Iraq, based on matching by $3.5 billion from other donors; and
• Paying for the package by canceling the super-size tax rate cut for the top 1% of taxpayers – those taxpayers earning more than $337,000 a year – beginning in 2005.
Unfortunately, the Republican Majority crafted a rule that did not make the Obey substitute "in order" (preventing it from being offered on the Floor, debated and voted on).
All House Democrats voted "no" on the "previous question on the rule," which is a procedural maneuver to make "in order" the Obey substitute and allow it to be considered on the House Floor, but Democrats were defeated by the Majority.
Throughout the debate, Democrats have stressed our commitment to the troops, our efforts to provide them with more support through the Obey Substitute, and our demand that the Administration develop a better plan for postwar Iraq and provide greater accountability on how funds are spent.