A November 2 Washington Times editorial suggested that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi would eliminate "funding for military operations in Iraq," citing Pelosi's October 2003 vote "against the $87 billion supplemental appropriation to fund the war effort." Pelosi supported an alternate funding proposal that she claimed "did more for our troops and was fiscally responsible."
A November 2 Washington Times editorial suggested that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who would likely become speaker should Democrats take control of the House in the midterm elections, would eliminate "funding for military operations in Iraq," citing Pelosi's October 2003 vote "against the $87 billion supplemental appropriation to fund the war effort." Pelosi, however, said in a statement at the time that she voted against the $87 billion appropriation not because she opposed funding military operations in Iraq, but because the money that had already been sent to Iraq had "not been adequately accounted for." Indeed, Pelosi supported an alternate funding proposal introduced by Rep. David Obey (D-WI) that she claimed "did more for our troops and was fiscally responsible," but the Republican majority did not allow a House vote on Obey's proposed substitute bill.
The Times editorial claimed:
Mrs. Pelosi joined a majority of her Democratic colleagues by voting against the October 2002 resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq. (She also opposed the use of force against Iraq in 1991.) Perhaps more significantly, in October 2003, with U.S. military forces engaged throughout Iraq, she voted against the $87 billion supplemental appropriation to fund the war effort. As speaker, she would be in a position to execute the recent threat by Rep. Charlie Rangel, one of more than 70 Democratic members of the "Out-of-Iraq Caucus," to seek the elimination of funding for military operations in Iraq. In other words, she would remain the quintessential San Francisco Democrat.
Contrary to the Times' suggestion, Pelosi's statements at the time make clear that she favored funding the war effort. In an October 30, 2003, statement, issued in response to the passage of the $87 billion supplemental appropriation, Pelosi said:
As Members of Congress we recognize that we have no greater responsibility than that charged to us in the Preamble of the Constitution -- to 'provide for the common defense.' We all take that responsibility seriously. Of course, both sides of aisle will do whatever is necessary to support the troops.
This conference report gives another $87 billion to an Administration that has not answered questions about its failed post war Iraq policy. The $63 billion for Iraq we already approved has not been adequately accounted for. And it is clear that this $87 billion is merely an installment. The Administration has already said it will ask for more.
Two weeks ago, Democrats tried to offer a substitute that did more for our troops and was fiscally responsible. But Democrats were not allowed to offer it. Last week, a bipartisan majority of the House and Senate sent a clear message that the bill should include a loan provision to lower the cost of reconstruction to American taxpayers. But last night, conferees chose to ignore the will of the people and both Houses of Congress by stripping the loan provision from the conference report, turning a deaf ear to what the American people want.
And so tonight, we are asked to vote on a conference report that hands the President another blank check for post war Iraq. As long as the Republicans in Congress keep writing the President blank checks, the American people lose.
Pelosi spoke on behalf of Obey's substitute bill on the House floor on October 16, 2003:
PELOSI: The question before us today is simple: what is the best way to achieve this goal? It is a complicated matter, but the question is simple. What is the best way to do this? The answer to me is clear: the Obey substitute. It is the more responsible approach, both fiscally and militarily.
It does more for our men and women in uniform before, during, and after their deployments. The Obey amendment better protects American taxpayers and their children and grandchildren because it is paid for, and, by having the World Bank administer a loan program for a portion of the reconstruction effort, will hopefully stimulate more international financial involvement.
In short, the Obey amendment does more to support our troops and encourage international participation in stabilizing and rebuilding Iraq and costs the American taxpayers less. It deserves our support.
Unfortunately, the Obey amendment will not be allowed to be presented and voted on the floor. And I know why -- it's brilliant. If it were presented as an alternative to the $87 billion Bush request, it would probably attract Republican support. It would have an impact on this failed policy, so sadly we won't have a chance to vote on it. It's really always interesting to me that it's against the rules of the House that is paid for. That makes it out of order.