Stupak says military appropriations bill goes too far
WASHINGTON, DC -- United States Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, issued the following
statement on his recent vote against the $29.3 billion supplemental appropriations
bill, debated in the House this past week:
"As I said in my floor statement, I support our war on terrorism and our homeland security efforts, as evidenced by my voting for emergency money and
legislation after Sept. 11. A few weeks ago I voted for the largest military authorization ever -- $383 billion! I and all the Democrats will
vote to give the military what it needs to prosecute the war and to make sure Americans are safe and secure at home.
"Unfortunately, the supplemental appropriations bill presented to the House this week went too far with unnecessary spending and ill-conceived policy
"First and foremost among my concerns was language dealing with our military involvement in
Colombia. The policy change in the appropriations bill calls for increasing the U.S. military role in
Colombia's civil war. With this legislation, the U.S. is no longer there just to help prevent drug
trafficking, but also to assist the Colombian government in fighting a civil war. In Columbia, young people who hold a high school diploma are exempt
from military service. Young American men and women are expected to fight and possibly die in
Colombia's civil war, while young Colombians are exempt.
"This is a 'Gulf of Tonkin'-style resolution that calls for U.S. involvement in
Colombia, while exempting Colombia's 'elite' youth.
"This appropriations bill changes Medicare reimbursement for hospitals in select congressional districts, held in most cases by Republicans. The
increased Medicare reimbursement funds in these districts will be taken from hospitals and health care providers in other districts, including northern
Michigan. The shift of reimbursement dollars is in this legislation only to help GOP members who face difficult re-elections.
"This bill contains funding and policy to help Republican members of Congress from North and South Carolina, who sold out the U.S. textile
industry during the trade authority vote in December 2001. This appropriations bill sets trade policy and changes for the textile industry,
in order to aid the GOP members who voted against the best interests of their districts.
"As Sen. John McCain pointed out, the Senate version of this bill has money for halibut fishing in Alaska! When did this get to be an emergency and what
does this have to do with our war on terrorism? There are additional 'pork barrel' projects in this supplemental appropriations bill, which was
supposed to be just for the military but which included provisions to help members with tough re-elections.
"As I have in the past, I voted against this supplemental appropriations bill because of all the special projects that are not emergencies and
because of the dangerous policy initiatives that cannot be passed on their own merits.
"This supplemental appropriations bill also contains a self-executing provision to raise the national debt by $750 billion without a vote of the
House of Representatives. In effect, Republicans have voted to raise the national debt by three-fourths of a trillion dollars without debate or an
up-or-down vote. Congress will now have to raid the Social Security Trust Fund to pay for this deficit spending over the next 10 years. This year's
deficit is now more than $300 billion.
"I support our military mission to destroy terrorism and make America safe, but I will not hide behind the war on terrorism to justify unwarranted,
unauthorized spending, or engaging our brave young men and women in a foreign civil war, when that country exempts its own young people from
"It is my hope -- and I signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Daschle to this effect -- that these objectionable provisions be struck from the
supplemental appropriations bill. Then, if the bill comes out of a House-Senate conference with these objectionable provisions removed, I will
be able to vote for it."
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