As The Hill reported late last night, House Republicans plan to vote as a bloc against the Iraq-Afghanistan war funding bill, due to included funding for the International Monetary Fund. Obviously, this is a big change for the party that routinely attacked then-Sen. Obama in last year’s campaign for allegedly voting to de-fund the troops when he voted against a funding bill that didn’t include a timetable for withdrawal.
In fact, check out this Town Hall column by House Republican Leader John Boehner, from April 2008:
But there is a clear distinction between saying you support the troops and backing up those claims with genuine action. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) once said “we shouldn’t play chicken with our troops” when it comes to funding our troops in harm’s way, and his colleague Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) urged General Petraeus at the start of the surge to request “every possible piece of equipment and resource necessary” to keep our troops safe. These words turned into little more than empty rhetoric when both proceeded to vote against funding our troops last year.
So how does the sentiment above square with Boehner’s current position of opposing a funding bill because it contains things he doesn’t like?
“The record on supporting our troops is clear,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told TPM. “Leader Boehner, like every Republican in the House, has already voted to give the men and women of our Armed Forces the resources they need. This bill would have been done weeks ago if the House Democratic Leadership hadn’t decided to play politics by using our troops as leverage to pass a $108 billion global bailout.”
One thing should be explained: The amount for the IMF in this bill is actually $5 billion on top of $103 billion from elsewhere — thus the total of $108 billion cited by Steel. The total cost of the war funding bill itself is in fact $106 billion.
Late Update: A Democratic strategist gives us this comment: “George Bush and the Republican Party led us into this War and now Boehner and Co. vote to leave the troops high and dry for political reasons. This is a real game changer, one Republicans will be hearing about for a long time.”