Jobs Not War Rally

To the best of my ability I have tried to capture the war spending records of the two Milwaukee Metro congresspersons since the Inauguration of President Obama in January 2009 to October 2010. I will let you draw your own conclusions before giving my opinion and research methodology below.

Earmarks

An increasing popular way to add military spending to the budget is by adding military ‘earmarks’ or ‘pork barrel’ spending attachments to the Federal Budget. Here are the two records:

Vote

Gwen Moore

James Sensenbrenner Jr.


2010 Federal Budget approved by Congress

9.2 million dollars

None

2011 Federal Budget Proposed:

9.5 million dollars

None

The Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act 6/11/09 included major military spending for Pakistan. H.R. 1866 was passed by House on 234–185 vote

Yes

No

Supplemental Appropriations, FY 2009 for 83.4 Billion dollars for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Passed: 226–202

Yes

No

H.R. 3326, Making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes. $636.3 billion 12/16/2009 Passed: 395–34

Yes

Yes

Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010 — $58.8 Billion for Iraq and Afghanistan Military Spending; when it was voted on in the house with additional spending measures added to it the vote was 215–210; all Democrats except 38 voted Yes, and All Republicans voted No.

Yes

No

Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010 — When the Senate rejected the additional motions and stripped the bill to only the 58.8 billion for military spending; all Republicans and some Democrats votes Yes; Bill passed House: 308 Yes and 114 No.

No

Yes


Research Methodology

For nearly all the records of earmarks and votes I used the MegaVote record of Congress.org. On this site you can subscribe to a regular MegaVote report of how your Congresspersons vote on bills and how others in congress vote. Click on any particular bill listed in this record and you can find out how other congresspersons voted on the issue.

There are often many votes on a particular bill, calling for Congresspersons to vote yes and No on an issue. For this research I only took the final vote in the House of Representatives, the one that really mattered. The only exception to this is the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010, when political game playing was at its best (or worst). When nearly all the Democrats in the House were needed, all kinds of amendments and non-binding resolutions were attached to it. It passed by a vote of 215–210 with all but 38 Democrats voting for it and all Republicans voting against it. When the Senate stripped the bill of all excess except military spending the Republicans in the House voted for it and the Democrats were allowed, for most part, to vote the way they wanted. Despite this game playing the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010 passed the House twice and our two representatives were able to vote yes and no.

Analysis

My reason for doing this research was to determine whether there is any basic difference in the voting records on war spending and how our phone calls, public meetings, emails etc. really bear on the issue. The vote of a progressive democratic, Rep. Gwen Moore, and a conservative Republican, Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr., are basically the same — for more war spending. In fact, if just studying this time frame, since the inauguration of President Obama, one could conclude that Rep. Sensenbrenner actually has a better record against war spending. But that is all games. During a Republican administration the same probably could be said for Rep. Moore.

Conclusion

Dorothy Day and Frank Blair have it right: Voting in this present government system does not really matter; nor does contacting our congressperson. They may seem to be voting to please us but ultimately they vote as the money and ‘powers that be’ direct them.

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