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Northwest Republicans shun spending bill

Sat., March 24, 2007

As expected, Inland Northwest Republicans voted against a congressional special spending bill that sets a deadline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said the proposal “sends the wrong message” and will be vetoed by President Bush.

Troops need to know the country stands behind them, she said.

“What we need is a plan for victory in Iraq,” she said in a statement Friday afternoon. “Establishing arbitrary timetables, restricting funding and micromanaging the war is not a plan for victory.”

Idaho freshman Rep. Bill Sali described the Democratic proposal as an attempt to “win in Iraq by retreating” and said the bill was filled with pork-barrel spending.

“And it is a sad commentary that some of my colleagues were willing to sell their votes for shrimp subsidies, peanut storage money and a spinach program,” he said in a statement released shortly after the bill passed.

McMorris Rodgers also criticized the nonmilitary programs, such as Secure Rural Schools funding, which would go to school districts and counties that have large tracts of national forest lands and are facing the cutoff of a federal program that helps make up for lost timber revenues.

“While I fully support and have fought for an extension of rural county payments, I do not believe this bill is the vehicle to restore funding to this crucial program,” she said.

Around the Northwest, the vote on the $124 billion supplemental spending bill was along strict partisan lines.

Republicans Doc Hastings, of Washington, and Mike Simpson, of Idaho, joined McMorris Rodgers and Sali in voting no.

Washington Democrats Brian Baird, Norm Dicks, Jay Inslee, Rick Larsen, Jim McDermott and Adam Smith voted yes.


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