Congressman Tom Cole - For Immediate ReleaseThis week Congress is gearing up to consider a troop funding bill. This legislation, an emergency War Supplemental, will provide the resources needed by the men and women serving in the Armed Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. But members of House leadership have taken the military funding bill and piled on an additional $108 billion for the International Monetary Fund (IMF). I believe that if Congressional liberals want to spend $108 billion on a global bailout, they ought to put it up for a vote independently. To use troop funding as a means to blackmail conservatives in Congress into voting for IMF funding is unconscionable and is unlikely to succeed.
Last month, this troop funding bill passed the House without the controversial IMF provisions. This version of the War Supplemental was remarkably bipartisan, and received strong support form Democrats and Republicans alike. I was proud to vote for it and praised President Obama for taking tough action in Afghanistan. But when the legislation was considered in the Senate, an effort was made to include language that would have facilitated the closing of Guantanamo Bay and the subsequent transfer of terrorists onto American soil. Luckily, common-sense prevailed and the Guantanamo Bay language was not adopted. In other words, both the Senate and the House have already passed a clean version of this troop funding bill, without Guantanamo Bay language or global bailout funding.
But now as the bill makes its way through the final legislative step - the conference report - liberal members of Congress, acting at President Obama's request, have attached a $108 billion credit line for the IMF. This will permanently increase by ten fold the IMF's ability to borrow from the U.S. Treasury. And this comes at a time when our own national resources have been so depleted by the Obama Administration's spending spree, that we would have to borrow the money ourselves in order to make it available to the IMF. Something is seriously wrong with the idea that the United States will essentially borrow the money from China in order to establish a line of credit for an international bank to make loans to foreign countries - some of whom are our enemies.
I, like the vast majority of conservatives, am strongly in favor of funding our troops in the field of battle. But any supplemental funding bill intended to fund our troops should do that - and only that. It should never be far from our minds that we are actively engaged in a war overseas. In fact, with President Obama sending 20,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, we are increasingly engaged in the War on Terror. With the size of our troop commitment growing, and our new focus in Afghanistan unfolding, now is not the time to meddle with military funding measures. We must swiftly and responsibly pass legislation that gives our men and women the resources they need to be both safe and successful without adding superfluous issues and expenditures to the funding bill.
The legislation being promoted by the liberals in Congress will fund both our enemies as well as our troops. It wastes money. And it seeks to take advantage of conservatives by forcing them to vote for measures they do not favor in order to pass a war funding measure that cannot be enacted without their support. No self respecting conservative member would allow themselves to be blackmailed in that manner.