Last night the Senate voted 46-51 against the House of Representatives version of the emergency war funding bill, forcing the House to face a new, direct vote on the issue without the additional domestic spending sought by nominally “antiwar” Democrats as a compromise for funding the continuation of the war.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had initially demanded the “emergency” war funds supplement bill by July 4. After a late night vote in the Senate, it looks like they might not even have them by the beginning of August.
After the Senate had initially started the emergency bill in June, a series of July 1 votes in the House of Representatives approved the war funds, but also added a massive collection of other features, including $16 billion in new domestic spending and another set of sanctions against Iran. This sent the bill back to the Senate for reconciliation. But there was no reconciliation in the cards last night, and the ball is once again in the House’s court.
The move will delay final approval of the bill yet again, until the House meets once again to vote on the bill. In the meantime the Pentagon is complaining that their war accounts are “drying up” as the costs of the endless war in Afghanistan continues to spiral.
It is widely expected that the House will, in the end, approve the funds for the war, but it will likely come with another series of debates, and it is so far unclear when the House will take the issue up.