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House passes gradual retreat bill

Posted by Richard on March 23, 2007

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership's Gradual Retreat Caucus prevailed today, passing their $124 billion military spending bill by a vote of 218-212. The bill establishes a timetable for withdrawal of all combat troops from Iraq by September 2008. It was opposed by Republicans and initially by the Democrats' Immediate Surrender Caucus, which wanted to cut off all funding for the Iraq conflict, presumably supposing that the troops there now could hitch rides home.

The Bush administration wanted $100 billion in military spending authorization. The remaining $24 billion is for pork projects added by the Democratic leadership to buy the Immediate Surrender Caucus votes they needed for passage. Yes, these are the same Democrats who owe their 2006 election success largely to voters' disgust with out-of-control pork-barrel spending, influence peddling, vote buying, …

Someone ought to crunch the numbers and compare the average pork per district needed to enforce party discipline on the Democratic side of the aisle versus the Republicans side. My first thought was that the Democrats' votes can probably be bought more cheaply. But then it occurred to me that Democrats spend tax dollars somewhat more freely, so the pork price might be bid up more easily. Clearly, it's a complex dynamic at work. Maybe some academic can get a government grant to look into it.


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