WASHINGTON – Sidestepping opposition from antiwar liberals, the House on Tuesday approved funding to escalate the war in Afghanistan and wind down U.S. involvement in Iraq.
The $106 billion war-funding bill, approved 226-202, posed the toughest test yet of President Barack Obama’s ability to rally his party’s left wing, which views his foreign and military policies as too hawkish.
Administration officials and Democratic leaders intensely lobbied holdouts among the Democratic ranks in advance of the House vote. The result was close because only five Republicans supported the bill, and 32 antiwar Democrats opposed it.
The legislation carried a hodgepodge of provisions, including $5 billion to expand the role of the International Monetary Fund in shoring up the world economy, $1 billion to encourage U.S. consumers to trade in gas-guzzlers for more fuel-efficient new cars and $7.7 billion to combat the flu pandemic. The bill also would place limits on the administration’s ability to bring terrorism suspects to the United States from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba.
Another battle looms before the measure goes to Obama for his signature: In the Senate, which is expected to vote on the bill this week, a bipartisan coalition may try to strip out the money for car trade-ins.