On May 14, U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) voted for the FY 2009 Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 2346) to provide funding for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan who are engaged in the War on Terror. Yesterday, the Congressman opposed final passage of the bill due to the unfortunate inclusion of misguided policies that could jeopardize the very safety of the men and women this bill was intended to support.
Rather than bringing a clean troop funding bill to the House Floor, the final version of H.R. 2346 strikes language that had been unanimously agreed to by the Senate to prohibit the release of photos of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay and includes language that will ease the process for transferring detainees held at the naval base to the U.S. Furthermore, the Conference Report provides $108 billion in loan authority for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to bolster or bail out foreign nations in economic distress, including countries like Iran that are state sponsors of terrorism against the United States.
The Report also included extraneous provisions that should not be considered in a Supplemental Appropriations Act. For example, $1 billion was included in the Report to advance the “cash for clunkers” initiative – a new program intended to prop up the auto industry by providing vouchers to consumers who scrap their old cars for those with slightly higher fuel efficiency.
“It is wrong to allow a bill to fund our troops as a vehicle to bail out countries like Iran and Venezuela that engage in activities that put our troops at risk,” Congressman Dent said. “I am disappointed Speaker Pelosi chose not to pass a clean bill to fund our service men and women to fight the radicals and extremists that pose a threat to our national security.”
The passage of this bill would allow Guantanamo Bay detainees to be brought into the U.S. for trial within 45 days of the Administration submitting certain certifications to Congress.
“We are engaged in a complex war on terror. Quietly inserting language regarding the transfer of dangerous Gitmo detainees without a full and comprehensive debate on the matter is disconcerting at best,” said Congressman Dent, a Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. “By allowing the release of sensitive images and creating certification parameters around the transfer of dangerous detainees, H.R. 2346 fails to promote the safety of our troops nor does it increase the security of our homeland.”