Yesterday, $10 billion was added to the war supplemental to avoid teacher layoffs when schools open in September. “Black Farmers WILL be taken care of…” Oversight Chairman Ed Towns told me a few hours ago with determination on his way to a vote.
The war supplemental for a war that lingers, some say directionless, will cost American taxpayers $60 billion… for this round of funding alone. And not a peep from Tom Coburn or Jim DeMint… not a word from the budget hawks. Where are Mr. Earmark hawk Jeff Flake and the Blue Dogs now? They appear to direct all energy to social programs. Blowing a cool $60 billion on a 9 year war that could hardly be confused with WWII in terms of purpose scares no one.
Votes on the war supplemental are tricky. No one can be seen as voting against troops in the field, particularly 124 days before election day. The situation is even trickier for the CBC. Two of their block of 39 votes are essentially trapped into voting with leadership: Jim Clyburn, who is the House Whip and Alcee Hastings, who is on the Rules Committee. The there are members who typically vote with leadership because it would be difficult for them to expend political capital otherwise.
Then there are the straight up rebels who are ready to rumble. The “shut this mutha’ down” Maxine Waters wing… I can’t reveal who they are but this Caucus has plenty of them. Will the Congressional Black Caucus use the power of their 39 votes in the U.S. House to derail the the war supplemental? Will the go-along-to-get-along-wing blunt the power of the shut-this-mutha’-down set. Soon we will know. Members of the CBC have watched too many times as billions are appropriated and spent on other things — with every other priority seemingly more important than the ones they support. We should know the answers sometime later tonight…