By Russell Berman - 05/10/11 08:05 PM EDT
House Republican leaders who were criticized for not commemorating the death of Osama bin Laden say an intelligence bill headed to the floor this week will honor the achievement.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Tuesday said legislation lawmakers will consider later this week will "pay tribute" to the military and the intelligence community in lieu of a resolution expressly honoring the mission that took out bin Laden.
Cantor indicated the House would not debate a congratulatory measure that dozens of lawmakers have sponsored, in keeping with new House GOP rules that forbid commemorative resolutions.
“We also understand the large impact that was gained by the intelligence community and the SEALs activity in Pakistan and obviously is worthy of our support. So we believe the best way to express that support [and] extend congratulations is in the context of the intel bill,” Cantor said.
GOP leaders had indicated from the outset last week that a congratulatory resolution was not in the offing, but Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday it remained under discussion.
Congratulatory measures offered by Reps. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) have drawn bipartisan support, and some Democrats have criticized the GOP for not making an exception to the rule on resolutions. The Senate unanimously approved a congratulatory resolution last week.
Cantor noted the Congress has not approved a full intelligence authorization bill in six years, and he predicted this one would pass the Senate and make it to the president’s desk. The GOP bill reduces the budget authority of the various intelligence agencies by $47 billion, though Republicans hope the legislation will bring more clarity on spending for the remainder of the fiscal year.