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GOP Backs War Bill; Obey to Vote ‘No’

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) said Tuesday that Republicans will vote for the supplemental war spending bill, but Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) said he will reluctantly oppose it because of the war’s high cost and his doubts about the Afghanistan government.

“We expect a very strong Republican vote in support of this supplemental,” Cantor said. “We are about putting the troops first.”

The bill was stripped in the Senate of funding for teachers, border security and other items sought by House Democrats.

“Now, true to form, virtually everything we have attempted to do this year to address the economic crisis and emergencies on the domestic side of the ledger has fallen by the wayside,” Obey said.

Obey brought the bill to the floor, but said he had “profound skepticism that this action will accomplish much more than to serve as a recruiting incentive for those who most want to do us ill.”

Obey said the Afghan government didn’t appear up to the job of bringing the war to a successful end, and even if it were, it would likely take so long that it would “obliterate our ability to make the kinds of long-term investments in our own country that are so desperately needed. … I believe it is too high a price to pay.”

Obey said he would have been willing to support more war money if Congress would vote on whether to continue the war policy in Afghanistan after a new National Intelligence Estimate is produced.

“But absent that discipline, I cannot look my constituents in the eye and say that this operation will hurt our enemies more than us.”

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