GOPers in tough position on war funding measure

House Republicans facing challenging reelection races are leaning against voting for a war supplemental bill if it includes funding for the International Monetary Fund.

Lacking the votes, House Democrats last week decided not to bring the bill to the floor.

In order to pass the bill, Democrats will need some GOP backing or convince some of their anti-war members to reverse themselves and back the bill.

Yet, there is a political risk for Republicans, whose votes could be used in campaign ads next year.

A Democratic leadership aide told The Hill that vulnerable Republican members would be “brain-dead to vote against the troops … [doing so] would undercut any advantage they think they have on national security.”

For now, vulnerable Republicans are indicating they will not vote for the bill if it has IMF funding.

Targeted GOP members who say they will vote no include Reps. Dan Lungren (Calif.) and Mark Kirk (Ill.). Republican members who are leaning no are Reps. Ken Calvert (Calif.), Dave Reichert (Wash.) and Jim Gerlach (Pa.).

Still, Blue Dogs have been grumbling about an earmark put in the bill by Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). The earmark includes $489 million to restore barrier islands along the Mississippi coast. Obama had previously pledged tough restrictions on earmarks.
Blue Dogs are also concerned about the overall amount of money that the Senate is seeking and share the concerns of fellow Democrats, as well as Republicans, about sending money to the IMF.

Obama told Blue Dogs he agreed with many of their concerns, but also noted they’d voted for numerous supplementals under President George W. Bush. And he told them he needed them to support the troops.

“He said we’ve got a leadership position in the world that must be upheld, and right now I need you,” said a participant in the meeting. “It was a very statesmanlike, presidential moment.”

The Hill
6/10/9