On the Senate floor earlier today, 59 senators (52 Republicans, 7 Democrats) voted for an amendment proposed by Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) that effectively cut $1.9 billion from funds for troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan (see the text of the amendment here). Despite the fact that the Senate’s $106.5 supplemental spending measure is full of bloated earmarks that could be trimmed, the Gregg amendment to the Iraq supplemental specifically diverted $1.9 billion from defense appropriations for domestic border security. Congressional Quarterly provides the details:
The amendment would apply an across-the-board cut to the $69 billion included in the bill for the military. Of that amount, $67.6 billion was requested for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and $1.4 billion was designated to repair hurricane damage done to military infrastructure along the Gulf Coast.
Gregg aggressively defended his measure, stating that anyone who alleges “that these funds are going to come out of the needs of the people on the front lines in Iraq or Afghanistan is pure poppycock.” But in fact, that’s exactly what Gregg did, according to both Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and President Bush. Here’s Bush:
These funds support U.S. Armed Forces and Coalition partners as we advance democracy, fight the terrorists and insurgents, and train and equip Iraqi security forces so that they can defend their sovereignty and freedom.
Clinton agreed, saying the Gregg amendment would “take money from troop pay, body armor and even [the] joint improvised explosive device defeat fund.” She called it “a false, cheap choice to score political points.”