FY 2007 Defense Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Update
FY 2007 Defense Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Update >More Info
Contact Your Representatives and Senators Now!
The Congressional Spring recess begins this weekend. Many of you have made appointments to contact your Members of Congress while they are back in their states and districts. We encourage everyone to contact their Members of Congress and provide them with The American Legion’s positions on our legislative portfolio. This may also be a good opportunity to get your Post to host a Veterans Town Hall meeting and ask your lawmaker to participate.
With regard to the defense emergency supplemental appropriations bills that are currently being debated in Washington The American Legion asks a simple question of each and every lawmaker: Are you going to vote for the money needed by our fighting men and women who are now in harm’s way protecting America in Iraq and Afghanistan in the Global War on Terrorism or not? Political rhetoric aside, it is a simple question to ask. It deserves a simple answer: “yes or no”.
The purpose of this alert is to update you on our current message points on this legislation.
The House of Representatives passed its version last Friday by a vote of 218-212. That bill contained a binding resolution for Iraq troop withdrawal. In order to achieve passage, it also included billions of dollars in other spending provisions that are unrelated to the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT).
Today, the Senate passed its version. It contains a non-binding Iraq troop withdrawal provision and, again, includes billions of dollars in unrelated spending provisions.
As stated in previous alerts The American Legion supports a “clean” defense emergency supplemental appropriations bill. Our reasoning on this is simple. We need to provide these emergency funds to support the troops in harm’s way. This legislation is an inappropriate legislative vehicle for the discussion of policy relating to the involvement in the fight against terrorists and for government spending that does not directly relate to that fight.
You should use two main points in your discussions with lawmakers.
First, with regard to the provisions on troop withdrawals from Iraq; timelines, troop movement restrictions, and the other benchmarks contained in both bills are attempts by Congress to ‘micromanage’ the war and these attempts are wrong. They are restrictions on the Commander-in-Chief, the military leadership and our troops and will only serve to make their war fighting efforts more dangerous if passed. More importantly, these provisions to direct military policy may actually be impermissible under the U.S. Constitution as an infringement on the Commander-in-Chief’s authority. The Constitution gives Congress the right to “raise and support” the armed forces, but only the President, as Commander-in-Chief, can lead the armed forces.
Second, with regard to the provisions in the bills for other non-defense spending on matters unrelated to fighting the Global War on Terrorism. The American Legion really sees two types of spending in those bills. One type is what we can agree is truly emergency spending for American needs. These provisions include spending provisions for the critical needs of America’s veterans and for the needs of American victims of last year’s hurricanes and other natural disasters. The American Legion supports those provisions. However, Congress has the authority to pass as many emergency appropriations bills it wants. Those domestic spending needs rightly should be addressed in a separate emergency appropriations bill and not in one whose sole purpose is to provide money to the troops in harm’s way fighting for America in Afghanistan and Iraq. With regard to the spending provisions on items such as the $100 million for the Democratic and Republican conventions next year, The American Legion does not see the ‘emergency’ nature of that domestic spending at all. This spending should only be addressed in a routine annual appropriations bill.
In sum, The American Legion wants Congress to pass the original defense emergency supplemental appropriations bill as requested by the Commander-in-Chief. National Commander Morin requests that all Council Members contact their Representatives or Senators and encourage them to support the President’s supplemental funding request without amendments, especially those amendments that attempt to dictate or govern the fighting of the war.
The original request was for an emergency supplemental appropriation of $93.4 billion to continue contingency operations in the Global War on Terrorism through September 2007. This bill is solely focused on the military needs of the Commander-in-Chief, the military leaders and the troops on the ground, and is so important that it deserves to be passed as submitted by the President without any amendments regarding the conduct and prosecution of the Global War on Terrorism. The men and women of the armed forces in the theaters of operation are dependent on this funding to sustain and achieve their military missions. This funding is absolutely critical to their success and individual well-being.”
The key message points:
a) Maintain national focus on the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) by passing the President’s supplemental bill to continue FY 2007 operations in Iraq and Afghanistan,
b) Provisions that hamper the Commander-in-Chief are inappropriate and may be unconstitutional, and
c) Provisions for spending that do not relate to the Global War on Terrorism should be addressed in a separate emergency appropriations bill.