Torture Photo Suppression Amendment Stripped From War Spending Bill

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Late last week, I noted that the supplemental war spending bill had hit a significant snag on its way to conference committee after the Senate tacked on two controversial amendments. One amendment–with a price tag of about $5 billion–would open up a $100+ billion line of credit for the International Monetary Fund. The other–an amendment to the Freedom of Information Act authored by Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham–would have allowed the White House to suppress any photo related to detainee abuse taken after September 11, 2001.

The first amendment caused House Republicans to revolt–first because they claimed, misleadingly, that the money might have found its way to the pockets of terrorists; then, when that was rational was laid bare, for other reasons, which I’ll get into shortly.

That defection, though, put the entire bill in jeopardy.Progressives in the House were by and large opposed the supplemental spending bill from the start–way before the FOIA photo suppression amendment had been tacked on to it. Between the entire GOP caucus and House progressives, the bill stalled.

Until last night, that is, when Democratic leaders stripped the Graham-Lieberman provision from the bill–a bit of red meat to progressives meant to entice them on board. There’s still a question, though, of whether that concession will be enough to get the funding passed. And, of course, Graham-Lieberman might well rear its ugly head at some point down the line. I’ll have a detailed post for you later today with more on the back story and the political problems the IMF amendment is still causing the White House.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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