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House Instructs Dem Leadership to Keep Photo Amendment

2:24 PM, Jun 11, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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By a vote of 267-152, the House has passed a non-binding motion "to instruct conferees on H.R. 2346, the war supplemental, insists that the House conferees." The language of the motion includes this:

  • Maintain the House's higher level of Defense spending ($81.3 billion);
  • Not exceed the Senate's overall spending number ($91.3 billion);
  • Insist upon the House's higher level of Military Construction spending ($3.2 billion);
  • Recede to the Senate amendment relating to the release of detainee photographic records; and
  • Not sign their approval of the Conference Report unless it is available in an electronic, searchable, and downloadable form for at least 48 hours;

In other words, 95 House Democrats have expressed their support for the Graham-Lieberman amendment that would provide the president with the authority to prevent the release of photos that allegedly show detainee abuse. If Pelosi and the Dem leadership strips this amendment out in conference, these same 95 Democrats will be in a tough spot and many of them are unlikely to vote for the final version of the supplemental. As one senior House GOP aide explained, "If the liberals ultimately strip this amendment from the supplemental, 95 Democrats will face a critical choice between standing behind today's vote that it is important to protect our troops from the release of these terrorist propaganda photos or caving to the political demands of Speaker Pelosi. The vote was clear and these 95 Democrats will be held to it."

Also see Roll Call report that "Senate Democratic leaders said they are unsure if they will have the votes next week to pass a supplemental war spending bill now that House and Senate conferees have decided to eliminate a provision barring the release of detainee abuse photos."