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White House Denies Threatening Freshmen Over War Bill

The White House is denying a charge by the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus that the administration is threatening to withhold support for freshman lawmakers’ re-election efforts unless they vote for the supplemental war spending bill.

The White House is telling freshmen, “We’re not going to help you. You’ll never hear from us again,— Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) charged Friday.

Woolsey said she learned of the White House pressure tactics at a meeting in her office with Democrats who voted against the war bill originally. The administration needs to flip 18 of 51 Democratic no’ votes to pass the measure, given that Republicans have vowed to oppose it over the inclusion of $108 billion for the International Monetary Fund.

“There’s so much pressure going on right now,— Woolsey said, adding that she personally doesn’t get calls because they know it would be pointless.

“It’s really hard on the freshmen.—

But Nick Shapiro, a White House spokesman, denied that freshmen were being threatened.

“That is not true,— Shapiro said in an e-mail.

When asked Friday about a separate news report on the alleged threats to the first-term lawmakers, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said: “I think the president, in speaking with every Member of Congress, would make a strong case for a supplemental bill that provides the necessary funding that our troops need in both Iraq and Afghanistan, important money that relates to our ongoing diplomatic efforts in an important country like Pakistan.—

Woolsey said she isn’t whipping liberal lawmakers against the bill and noted that many Progressive Caucus members are in a tough spot because they want to support the president.

She declined to say who from the White House was calling the freshmen or which Members had complained.

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