By Walter Alarkon - 05/14/10 07:44 PM EDT
The Senate Appropriations Committee reported out a $59 billion measure Thursday that includes $33.5 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq plus lesser amounts for foreign aid, disaster assistance and Vietnam veterans affected by Agent Orange. The House has yet to act on the war funding. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has called on Congress to send the war spending bill to the president by Memorial Day.
House Republicans showed last year they're willing to vote against war funding because of other measures tacked onto it.
Most GOP members opposed the 2009 war supplemental bill because of money for the International Monetary Fund attached to it.
Boehner called on Democrats to consider the education fund separate from the war bill.
"If Democrats want to debate spending billions more in taxpayer money on education, then they should do it as a stand-alone bill rather than attaching it to a measure that funds our troops," Boehner said.
UPDATE: Democrats criticized Boehner and Republicans for opposing the teacher fund in addition to other recent Democratic jobs bills. GOP members slowed Thursday a Democratic bill with science and research funding by trying to attach to it a provision blocking funds to federal workers who view pornography, a Democratic leadership aide noted.
"Yesterday, job-killing House Republicans blocked a bipartisan plan that would help get more Americans back to work," said Doug Thornell, spokesman for Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). "Today, it appears John Boehner and House Republicans want to stand in the way of important funds that would help save teachers' jobs. It is unbelievable that John Boehner, who begged his Conference to support Bush’s bailout of Wall Street banks, has the nerve to use teachers and children as pawns in his cynical game to regain the trust of the right wing of his party."