House Democrats Unveil $94.2 Billion Wartime Spending Bill — Omit Gitmo Prisoner Relocation; Worry Obama’s Long-Range Military Plan

House Democrats unveiled a $94.2 billion wartime spending bill Monday which adds $9.3 billion to White House requests but also reflects serious doubts about the long-term viability of President Barack Obama’s military commitments to Afghanistan and its neighbor Pakistan. 

“It gives the president one year to demonstrate what he can do. It gives him ample resources,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey. But the Wisconsin Democrat said he was “very dubious” about the chances of success and wants a “fish or cut bait” assessment in a year’s time that will determine how long the United States continues on this path. 

“The president feels obligated to give it a shot, and we’ll help him give it a shot for a year,” Obey said. “At the end of the year I want to have a hard-nosed realistic evaluation based on the performance standards we’re talking about.” 

The full House Appropriations Committee is slated to meet Thursday on the proposed bill, and the administration has been anxious to complete initial floor debate in both chambers of Congress before the Memorial Day recess. 

To speed the process—and avoid what could be an awkward political debate — Obey appears to have dropped all money and language related to the relocation of prisoners now held at Guantanamo. The chairman said he supports the president’s decision to close the controversial detention center, but thus far, the administration has not come up with a “concrete program” for what to do about the estimated 50 to 100 detainees who can’t be released but also can’t be effectively tried by the military. 

Obama had requested $50 million for the Pentagon and $30 million for the Justice Department to begin this process, but none of these funds are now in the bill. 

“So far as we can tell, there is no concrete program,” Obey said. “I’m not much interested in wasting my time defending a theoretical program.”

From Politico

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