War funding bill to get Thursday vote

The House will hold a vote Thursday on a supplemental appropriations bill to send $33 billion in funding to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this morning.

The timing of the vote had been in question as Democratic leaders struggled to structure legislation that could bridge the gap between anti-war liberals and Republicans who oppose extraneous spending in the bill. Pelosi said the form the legislation would take had yet to be determined, pending a meeting of the Rules Committee Thursday afternoon.

That likely sets up a vote in the full House Thursday evening.

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“Suffice it to say, whatever form it’s in, whatever actions we take, our men and women in uniform will not be lacking in what they need,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters at her weekly press conference.

A leadership aide acknowledged, however, that the military was unlikely to receive the money before the July 4 recess because the House-passed bill will need to go to the Senate, which has gone into recess for a week and a half. While the Pentagon has said it needs the funds urgently, the aide said Democrats had been told the military could get by for another few weeks.

House Democrats want to add $15 billion in education aid to the war funding bill, complicating their effort to pass legislation with Republican support. The GOP has said it wants a “clean bill” with no unrelated domestic spending. Liberal Democrats want the domestic spending as well as an opportunity to vote separately against the Afghanistan funding.

Democrats are also expected to attach a budget document to the rule, setting up debate for the war bill, the aide said.