All But 32 House Dems Back Bad Wars, Big Banks

Thirty-two Democrats broke with the Obama administration and House
Democratic leaders Tuesday to oppose a $106 billion supplemental
appropriation to maintain the occupation of Iraq, surge more troops
into the quagmire that is Afghanistan and fund the International
Monetary Funds anti-social policies of forcing developing countries to
sacrifice programs for the poor in order to bail out big banks.

But that wasn't enough to block approval of the measure.

The final vote was 226 in favor of the supplemental, 202 against.

The bill passed with Democratic votes -- 221 Democrats backed it, along with 5 Republicans.

The spending scheme was opposed by 170 Republicans. Most, although
not all of the Republican "no" votes were cast for the wrong reasons of
knee-jerk opposition to the Obama administration, foreign aid and
environmental programs. (There were the usual exceptions, such as Ron
Paul of Texas. John Duncan of Tennessee and Walter Jones of North

Joining the Republicans in voting "no" were the 32 Democrats, many of the them closely associated with Progressive Democrats of America, which aggressively lobbied against the supplemental.

The Democrats who broke with the administration were:

Arizona's Raul Grijalva.

Californian's Sam Farr, Bob Filner, Barbara Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Brad
Sherman, Jackie Speier, Pete Stark, Maxine Waters, Diane Watson and
Lynn Woolsey.

Colorado's Jared Polis.

Florida's Alan Grayson.

Maine's Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree.

Maryland's Donna Edwards.

Massachusetts' Michael Capuano, Jim McGovern, John Tierney and Nikki Tsongas.

Michigan's John Conyers.

Minnesota's Keith Ellison.

New Hampshire's Carol Shea-Porter.

New Jersey's Donald Payne.

New York's Eric Massa and Jose Serrano.

Ohioans Marcy Kaptur and Dennis Kucinich.

Texan Lloyd Doggett.

Vermont's Peter Welch.

Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin.

Notable names on the list of "no" votes are those of new members,
such as California's Speier, Colorado's Polis, Maine's Pingree,
Maryland's Edwards, Minnesota's Ellison, New Hampshire's Shea-Porter,
New York's Massa and Vermont's Welch, House freshmen and sophomores who
resisted intense pressure on newer members -- who may still be looking
for leadership assistance when it comes to committee assignments and
reelection races -- to vote the administration line.

Their opposition to the an exceptionally bad proposal was appropriate
-- and perhaps even heroic in the face of threats by the administration
and House leaders. But it was not sufficient to block an initiative
that extends wars and global poverty.

Dozens of Democrats who were elected on anti-war platforms --
including 19 caucus members who opposed the supplemental when an
earlier version came before the House in May -- cast disappointing
votes. And those disappointing votes have consequences. Among the
disappointing Democrats who caved to the pressure to "back the
president" were members who have usually been in the anti-war camp,
such as Hawaii's Neil Abercrombie and Illinoisan Jesse Jackson Jr. and
Jan Schakowsky, all of whom were early and enthusiastic backers of
Obama's presidential campaign.

Now, they are backers of Obama's wars. Indeed, as Jane Hamsher,
who waged a spirited campaign to get Democrats to oppose the
supplemental observed after the overwhelming majority fell in line with
another misguided president: "Yeah. It's a Democratic war now."

It's also the Democrats bailout of some of the biggest banks in
Europe. Those banks are in financial trouble because they made risky --
and ultimately unsustainable -- loans in Eastern Europe. But, with an
assist from the Obama administration and a Democratic Congress, the
foreign banks will get a bailout, with U.S. tax dollars funneled
through the IMF.

As Dean Baker explains:

The basic problem is simple. The West European bankers
proved to be every bit as stupid as the Robert Rubin-Citigroup crew in
dishing out loans. The main outlet for their bad loans was Eastern
Europe, where they made enormous loans denominated in euros.

It is very difficult for the countries of Eastern Europe to
maintain their exchange rates against the euro without large amounts of
assistance. However, if they let their currencies fall against the
euro, then the default rates on the loans from Western European banks
will explode.

Of course West Europe is rich enough to bail out its own banks, but
the governments in countries like France and Germany know that their
people will not stand for this sort of handout. In steps the IMF...

With money from U.S. taxpayers, the IMF will protect the European
banks, thus allowing the governments of France and Germany to spend
precious resources on job-creation and social programs -- rather than
bank bailouts.

And what do Americans who voted for Barack Obama and a Democratic
Congress to end wars and focus on human needs rather than the demands
of bank speculators? Another $106 billion in useless debt.

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