Afghanistan

Congress, for the moment, is forced to put education before war

The chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, David Obey, is delaying a vote on new Afghanistan war funding until Congress extends funding to states and the unemployed. It’s a move that makes clear the competition between war funding and domestic needs, something that’s been fairly obvious to those of us outside the beltway.

Obey has been central to the fight over education aid and, in an interview, drew a direct link between war funding and progress on domestic priorities.

He said he would withhold action on the war funds until there was some resolution on a major economic relief bill extending jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed and popular tax breaks for individuals and businesses.[…]

“I want to wait until the extenders bill is resolved,” Obey told POLITICO of the separate war funding measure. “All I can do is sit and wait until reality strikes home, and then maybe we’ll get somewhere.”

Ironically, Congress has been loading up the war-funding bill with things that we all like, like funds to clean up the oil spill and Haiti relief. These goodies make it much harder for progressives to vote against the war funding, and it’s about time someone in D.C. pointed out that it’s these costly wars that are putting our domestic needs on the line in the first place.

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