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Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Too Nothing, Too Never
A few weeks ago, I sent Senator Debbie Stabenow (DLC-MI) an e-mail asking her to support Senator Kennedy in opposing the $87 billion "keep those flag-draped coffins coming" legislation. Here's her response, which I just received today (after she's already sold us and the troops down the river):

November 5, 2003

Mr. Bob Goodsell

Thank you . . .

. . for contacting me with your concerns about the Iraq-Afghanistan emergency supplemental appropriations bill that is on its way to the President for his signature. I share many of your concerns about this legislation.

While it is critical to fully support our troops during this dangerous time in Iraq and Afghanistan, I strongly opposed providing $20 billion for Iraqi reconstruction without a requirement that Iraqis repay at least a portion of this back in the future. During Senate consideration of this legislation, I supported an amendment, which passed by a vote of 51 to 47, that would have required half of the reconstruction funds to be given in the form of a loan. Unfortunately, at the insistence of the Bush administration and leaders of the House of Representatives, this loan provision was dropped in the final bill.

However, this is not the end of this matter. My colleagues and I intend to revisit this issue in the future because U.S. taxpayers should not simply give away billions of dollars to a country like Iraq with significant oil reserves and the capacity to fund its own reconstruction. Other countries have agreed to provide loans, not grants, to Iraq and there is no reason why the United States should not do the same.

You should also know that during Senate consideration of this legislation, I offered an amendment that would have delayed $5 billion of funds for Iraqi reconstruction until next year and used this money to create jobs and provide health care for the our citizens here at home. Administration officials have clearly indicated that only $8 billion, of the $20 billion total, could actually be spent in the next year in Iraq.

My legislation, called "A Month for America", which represents the approximate amount we spend in Iraq per month, would have provided $5 billion to improve our roads and bridges, build new schools, and provide quality health care to our veterans and working families who do not have health insurance. While my amendment was defeated, I will continue to fight for Michiganians who are struggling to make ends meet in these troubled economic times. I believe the Administration and the Congress should have the same sense of urgency about our needs here at home as they do about the needs in Iraq.

Thank you again for contacting my office. Please feel free to do so again in the future whenever I can be of assistance to you and your family.

Debbie Stabenow
United States Senator

So it's a "Month for America" and a decade for Halliburton. Sorry, Deb, but that's a completely insipid response. So cheap about helping to rebuild a country that we, in large part, destroyed, yet so generous in providing the billions to keep our soldiers in harm's way. Who exactly are you representing with this frankly criminal vote? What cause are you furthering? Bring the troops home, now, and stop caving in to the criminals in the White House.