House Narrowly Approves ‘Emergency’ War Funding Bill

Obey Amendment Forces Bill Back to Senate for Reconciliation

As expected the House of Representatives today voted, after a series of side votes on possible amendments, to provide President Barack Obama with some $33 billion in “emergency” war funding as part of an $80 billion bill. The voting came through a convoluted series of sub votes.

A non-military spending vote passed 239-182, while the overall war funding itself narrowly passed 215-210, bolstered by Republican opposition to the pork-laden bill.

Other amendments didn’t fare as well, with a call to strike all funding for the war going down 26-376 and one calling for a pullout losing 100-321. Even a measure calling on the President to come up with some sort of hypothetical withdrawal strategy failed, 162-260. Though withdrawing the funds failed badly, the other votes were far closer than a March vote aimed at ending the Afghan War, which failed 65-356 after hours of intense debate, and reflects increasing opposition to the conflict.

The bill will not immediately go to President Obama, however, as one of the several amendments, the Obey Amendment aimed at adding billions of additional spending related to Pell Grants and border security, managed to pass. Instead the bill must return to the Senate to be reconciled.

With the Senate already gone for their July 4 recess, this virtually ensures that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ demand that the Congress provide the funds by July 4 will not come into being. Secretary Gates had warned that the Pentagon would begin doing “stupid” things if they were not given the money before the recess.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.