Democrats in Congress are evidently guided by a belief that skating on thin ice is better than skating on no ice at all. They insist on sending the White House a troop funding bill loaded with billions for completely unrelated pork barrel projects. American combat troops are now being used to grease the skids for spinach growers, citrus producers, tropical fish breeders, and the peanut industry. How proud my Democratic friends must be.
Can someone please explain why a quarter-billion dollars for the Milk Income Loss Contract Program belongs in a funding bill for troops under fire in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Democratic leaders are so brazen-or callous?-as to brag about their vote buying on national television. When asked by NBC's Meet the Press host Tim Russert why his party piled billions in pork projects on such a serious bill, Way & Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) last Sunday said, "Because we needed the votes."
In return for billions in pork, Democratic backbenchers supported a scheme authored by John Murtha (D-PA) to tie the hands of U.S. generals and slap a withdrawal date on troops actively fighting insurgents and terrorists. Does anyone really doubt that the terrorists won't simply mark their calendars and wait us out?
Even the leader of the bipartisan American Legion criticized the goals and tactics the House majority has employed. "I don't understand what is so hard about passing a clean bill for the good of our troops," National Commander Paul A. Morin said. "What's good for the troops is NOT setting timelines. What's good for the troops is giving them the funding they need immediately. What's good for the troops is supporting our troops through action not words. What's good for the troops is letting the real generals run the war. Like the House, the Senate has filled this emergency supplemental with non-emergency pet pork projects."
In a letter to the President, I joined 153 of my House colleagues in sending a strong message that Republicans will continue to fight for a clean funding bill, without arbitrary restrictions or billions for pork-barrel projects. We sincerely believe American troops deserve a clean bill without extraneous and unnecessary spending and free of strings that undermine their mission.
Speaker Pelosi pledged to bring-up a clean funding bill if their 'pork and retreat' strategy failed. Together with the President's veto pledge, the GOP letter should make it obvious that the Democrat strategy has, indeed, failed. The path Democrats have chosen is clearly a dead end - an exercise in partisan futility that puts both American troops and their mission in jeopardy.
Members of Congress have a duty to stand and fight against those who seek our destruction. Our troops are committed to fighting and winning this global war. We owe them our unfailing support, not a half-cooked scheme to mandate failure. Weakness or withdrawal in Iraq will embolden a fanatical enemy and could lead directly to chaos or genocide.
Do Democrats have the will? They continue to deny the fact that America is battling terrorism on a global scale, desperately trying to force a retreat from Iraq and going so far as to propose banning Congressmen from using the phrase "Global War on Terror." How do Democrats expect America to fight and win a war they deny is even taking place?
It is unacceptable that Democratic leaders would put America's national security on such thin ice by playing politics with troop funding. But it's not too late for them to do the right thing. They should scrap their pork-laden retreat bill and start over. Let's drop the pork, untie the hands of the generals, and support the troops.