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McKeon fires on war funding bill

Posted: June 16, 2009 5:23 p.m.
Updated: June 16, 2009 5:23 p.m.
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. House of Representatives today took up the conference report for the war supplemental (H.R. 2346).

During the debate, House Armed Services Ranking Member Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) made the following speech:

"Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my good friend from California, Mr. Dreier, for yielding time.

"As the ranking member on Armed Services, I rise in opposition to the war supplemental conference report for one simple reason.

"It will endanger our troops in harm's way.

"Compared with the clean troop funding bill that passed the House with bipartisan support in May, this package cuts $5 billion from defense to create room for a $105 billion global bailout loan program.

"What should be a clean military funding bill has become a means for the President's promise to provide more foreign aid to the International Monetary Fund. Those funds will eventually make their way to countries that are less than friendly to the United States, at the expense of programs to support our troops.

"And even more disturbing is the decision by conferees to reject a motion offered by Republicans to prohibit release of detainee photos that could exacerbate tensions in the very regions our troops are fighting.

"Mr. Speaker, let me read to you a statement about those photos by General Petraeus, Commander of U.S. forces throughout the Middle East:

'The release of images depicting U.S. servicemen mistreating detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, or that could be construed as depicting mistreatment, would likely deal a particularly hard blow to USCENTCOM and U.S. interagency counterinsurgency efforts in these three key nations, as well as further endanger the lives of U.S. soldiers, Marines, Airmen, Sailors, civilians, and contractors presently serving there.'

"General Petraeus is correct. And we should stand with our troops in the field and prohibit release of these photos. We should not leave it in the hands of ACLU lawyers or at the mercy of activist judges.

"I urge my colleagues to reject this package and insist that it is brought back immediately with Senators Lieberman and Graham's language to prohibit release of those photos.

"Finally, the Senate-passed troop bill included language prohibiting release or transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to U.S. soil.
Unfortunately this conference report does not prohibit the transfer or release of detainees after October 1st of this year. This is a huge mistake. I fear we are already beginning to open Pandora's Box - we have already begun importing terrorists.

"These Guantanamo detainees are trained to foment dissent against Americans and we should do everything possible to keep them away from our local military bases and our prisons.

"Again, I urge my colleagues to vote no on this conference report so we can quickly make these necessary changes to protect our troops in the field, and bring back a clean troop funding bill."

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