Lewis Remarks at the FY09 War Supplemental Conference Committee

Apr 12, 2011
Press Release

Remarks by House Appropriations Ranking Member Jerry Lewis at the
Fiscal Year 2009 War Supplemental Conference Committee
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis gave the following remarks at the House and Senate joint conference committee today on the Fiscal Year 2009 Emergency War Supplemental legislation:
“I’m very pleased that we have, at least temporarily, returned to regular order on moving the emergency supplemental before us.  However, I must confess to being disappointed at the turn this final product has taken as compared to where we began with the original House-passed bill.
“It appears that the majority has chosen to go to the high-dollar level for every account in this conference report—except as it relates to the primary purpose of this legislation—the critical troop funding in the Department of Defense and Military Construction sections.
“My understanding of the final agreement is that it cuts the House level for DoD and MilCon by $4.6 billion.   More disconcerting is that the final package includes $5 billion in IMF funding that was not a part of the original House package that will go to many countries who are less than friendly to the United States. 
“This $5 billion in funding for the IMF will secure a whopping $108 billion in loans.  In essence, the IMF would be funded at a level almost $30 billion more than what is provided in this bill for our troops.  What began as a troop funding bill has become a means of fulfilling the President’s promise to provide more IMF funding for international bailouts. 
“If that isn’t bad enough, the conference agreement also includes a billion dollars in emergency spending for the “Cash for Clunkers” program that was not part of either the House or Senate package, nor was it requested by President Obama.
“The conferees appear to have dropped the Graham/Lieberman/McCain language relating to the release of detainee photos.  It is also my understanding that conferees have significantly watered down language relating to the release or transfer of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.  This is an issue that is—and will continue to be—of great concern to many of us. 
“Earlier this week, the President approved having a Guantanamo detainee transferred to New York City. And, just this morning, the President ordered the release and transfer of four Uighers to Bermuda.  The President appears to be racing to move these detainees before the will of this Congress is enacted into law. 
“Before we conclude today’s conference, my House minority colleagues and I would like to be recognized to offer three motions.  The first will insist upon the higher House funding level for DoD and Milcon spending in this conference agreement.  The second motion will insist upon agreeing to Section 202A and Section 315 of the Senate bill prohibiting the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees.   The third and final motion will seek the approval of the Senate provision prohibiting the release of detainee photos.
“I’d like to make one additional point:  Much has been made about the total cost of this emergency supplemental.  I note for the record that the final conference agreement is $106 billion which is $14 billion more than the President’s request, $9 billion more than the House-passed level and $15 billion more than the Senate-passed level. 
“Let’s not pretend that we’re concerned about the total cost of this package.  Arguments about maintaining some level of fiscal responsibility ring hollow when we lard up a troop funding bill with taxpayer dollars to support foreign aid for hostile governments and cash for cars past their prime.
“In closing, it’s a shame that a process that began in a spirit of bipartisanship in the House has concluded in such a partisan manner.   We began as a bipartisan House seeking to support our troops and have ended this process by appeasing the very Members who opposed this emergency funding in the first place.”

112th Congress