Video: Rangel admits Dems abused war funding bill

posted at 4:53 pm on April 2, 2007 by Ian

Congressman Charles Rangel admitted Dems added tons of pork, along with a withdrawal date, because they “needed the votes.” So, Democrats basically sold their votes on the war for a few piles of cash.

Nice. Ethical. Thank you for cleaning up the culture of corruption, Democrats.

MR. RUSSERT: Chairman Rangel, welcome back to MEET THE PRESS. Want to talk about your book in a second, but let me start with the war. The House voted for funding for the war with a date certain, March of ‘08, to begin a withdrawal of U.S. troops. But in that bill was $20 billion of so-called pork, money for cricket infestation, tours of the Capitol, security at the National Convention, peanut crops. Why would the Democrats put that kind of money in such a serious bill?

REP. CHARLES B. RANGEL (D-NY): Because they needed the votes. That bill, we lost so many Democrats, one, because people thought we went too far and others because we didn’t go far enough. And so a lot of things had to go into a bill that certainly those of us who respect great legislation did not want in there. But the real question was, were we doing something to stop this immoral war and what could we do instead of doing nothing except do what the president asks us to do? I think the most important thing and the worst thing that’s ever happened to this country in recent history is getting involved in the Middle East, and I didn’t care what was in that bill if there was anything to slow down, to, to say what the American people said in the last election, “Get out of Iraq!”

MR. RUSSERT: If you want to stop the war, why not just simply cut all the funding off?

REP. RANGEL: Because you don’t have the vote to do it. There’s some people who believe that if you cut all the funding off, you leave our soldiers and, and, and military people exposed, and that they’d have no money and then we’d go back to the scene we had in Vietnam where we’re fleeing by helicopter. And so it’s all compromised. That’s what legislation’s all about, and you have to make the best moral and conscious decision.

(Full transcript)

Update (AP): Obama’s on the same page as Rangel. To refresh your memory: the Senate’s version of the Iraq spending bill actually failed on its first go round, 50-48, thanks to Ben Nelson and Mark Pryor. The second version passed after Reid threw in some benchmarks to win Nelson and Pryor over, but only because Mitch McConnell declined to filibuster it. The House bill wouldn’t have passed at all if not for a Herculean effort by Pelosi and Rahm Emmanuel to strongarm or buy off enough people to push it through with 218 votes, the barest majority.

How does the leader of the reality-based community react to this political reality? By stamping his feet over Obama having “surrendered” to Bush and demanding a bill with even more restrictions if Bush vetoes this one. And naturally enough, Harry Reid’s going to give baby his bottle:

Ratcheting up pressure on the White House to end the Iraq war, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid joined one of the chamber’s biggest anti-war Democrats on Monday in proposing to terminate funding for the conflict within a year…

Reid said he would call for a vote on the Feingold legislation soon if Bush carries out his threat to veto the timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

It’ll fail, but Reid has to periodically play these little games with the nutroots to show he’s a fightin’ fighter like they are. Let’s get on with it.

Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL


The only way we’d go back to the scene in Vietnam is if the country gave up on the mission.

Oh, wait, we’re almost there.

dalewalt on April 2, 2007 at 4:57 PM

I have a compromise. I’ll give you my vote on a withdraw date if it coincides with an entry date for Iran and Syria.

– The Cat

P.S. Yes, on my days off I sit infront of HotAir watching for updates.

MirCat on April 2, 2007 at 5:04 PM

Chuck wrote a book? What’s it written on, toilet paper?

jaleach on April 2, 2007 at 5:07 PM

ouch… open mouth insert foot… see the truth does slip out occasionally…

Kaptain Amerika on April 2, 2007 at 5:15 PM

So I guess the news is that the Dems admitted it? I wonder what some of the Dem cheerleaders are going to say.

JasonG on April 2, 2007 at 5:18 PM

Am I the only one who can’t wait for Rangel’s book to come out on audio?

Chad on April 2, 2007 at 5:28 PM

Did he mean voter votes or votes on the bill within the House? I’m not saying it’s right either way but it does make a difference, doesn’t it?

Ann on April 2, 2007 at 5:29 PM

U.S. security for sale- $20 billion worth of peanuts and crickets. Sounds like a terrific brim fishin’ expedition, but who’s buying the beer and vienna sausages?

doginblack on April 2, 2007 at 5:33 PM

Speaking of “culture of corruption” and the [email protected]:

The case of William Jefferson continues, although the media has not given it much attention of late. The Louisiana Congressman who hid $90,000 in his freezer until an FBI raid discovered it, still fights the subsequent raid on his House offices as unconstitutional. In this effort, Jefferson has attracted a number of strange bedfellows:

Embattled Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.), the target of a two-year public-corruption probe, is finding himself with strange bedfellows these days.
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), former House minority leader Robert Michel (R-Ill.) and Scott Palmer, former chief of staff for Rep. J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), are among those who have filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, backing Jefferson’s argument that the controversial FBI raid on his office last May was unconstitutional.

“These former leaders of the House had concerns about the integrity and independence of the institution, and therefore they decided to file this joint brief,” said lawyer James Hamilton, who filed an amicus brief on behalf of Gingrich and Michel as well as former House speaker Thomas Foley (D-Wash.).

But Jefferson’s Democratic colleagues, most notably House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), have been conspicuously quiet as the constitutional fight over the FBI raid continues.

This is nothing short of insane. Republican leaders, including Newt Gingrich, want to argue for some Constitutional haven for corruption on Capitol Hill, even where Democrats get cold feet. Nancy Pelosi decided against further involvement in this case after current House Republican leadership wised up and listened to their constituencies and refused to join her.

The FBI has a duty and a right to investigate corruption, and to follow that evidence where it leads them. If the FBI got a valid search warrant, that means that a member of another branch of government reviewed their application and found it valid. Congress has no built-in immunity from being investigated for malfeasance, whether at their homes or in their offices, as long as the executive branch has followed the law in obtaining and executing search warrants.

I don’t know what Gingrich can be thinking. We just lost a national election thanks to Republican corruption in the form of Randy “Duke” Cunningham and others. The last point the GOP needs to argue is that Congress has some sort of immunity to outside investigation. It simply isn’t true, and it hardly builds trust to see potential Presidential candidates jump into bed with Dollar Bill Jefferson.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 05:56 AM

Sorry Gingrich fans, IMHO, Thompson/Pence ’08.

tormod on April 2, 2007 at 5:35 PM

There’s some people who believe that if you cut all the funding off, you leave our soldiers and, and, and military people exposed, and that they’d have no money

Note the 3 “and”s – Mr. Rangel, yes, this Mr. Rangel didn’t know what to say…

It’s not Vietnam – it’s the fact that your arses would be thrown out in Nov. ’08.

I admit – it is fun to watch the Kindergarten in Washington, so long as it doesn’t get any more dangerous.

The best part – the videos accumulate for ’08.

Entelechy on April 2, 2007 at 5:37 PM

Where the hell is the outrage from anyone? Rangel admits to buying votes with taxpayer money and not a peep.

darwin on April 2, 2007 at 5:37 PM

Does anyone want to remember the last time a Democratic controlled cut off funding?

Yeah, you go Chuck!

PinkyBigglesworth on April 2, 2007 at 5:37 PM

These Democrats are so patriotic!

Never forget. This is what American voted for and it could get worse.

DannoJyd on April 2, 2007 at 5:40 PM

Where the hell is the outrage from anyone? Rangel admits to buying votes with taxpayer money and not a peep.

Again, I believe he is referring to votes on the bill. Trust me I am no fan of Charlie Rangel but let’s be careful in what we say also.

Ann on April 2, 2007 at 5:49 PM

I know they were buying votes for the bill. I’m not sure what you’re implying. Isn’t the bill the topic here?

darwin on April 2, 2007 at 5:58 PM

There’s no general public comments because the MSM has disingeniously larded their pages and their radio/Tv coverage with worthless filler, global warming computer modelled virtual disasters of the week, hypothetical avian flu scenarios, even the incredibly cynical hand-wringing pseudo-worry that a NASA Mars mission MIGHT have killed off a theoretical life form, plus the daily dose of Bush is a criminal, a sob story of lonely military family waiting for solider to come home, etc, etc. No room for real news. No desire to shine the light on Democrat activities.

naliaka on April 2, 2007 at 6:32 PM

I wonder if Rangel’s gravely voice is caused by what Harvey Fierstein has?

I wonder how Keith Ellison feels about all the pork?

I wonder why we keep electing these idiots into office?

I wonder if we are not our own worse enemy?

Inquiring Minds want to know. The Inquirer, a check out line magazine worth reading while Tivo-ing the view.

Priorities folks, priorities.

Kini on April 2, 2007 at 7:15 PM

Here we have a congressman saying that it becomes possible to get an unpopular bill passed in congress by attaching increasing amounts of costly, unrelated bribes to it.

I can’t be the only one that views this is a rapid decay of the Republic? In the grand scheme of things this is more important then the fact that the vote was about a war.

Resolute on April 2, 2007 at 7:49 PM

There’s some people who believe that if you cut all the funding off, you leave our soldiers and, and, and military people exposed, and that they’d have no money and then we’d go back to the scene we had in Vietnam where we’re fleeing by helicopter.

I suppose the only thing that’s changed in the last 30+ years is that the modern Democrats are giving friend and foe a date certain to expect that last helicopter. Way to go, patriots… you score high marks for consideration!

And at least we won’t have any of those pesky boat people this time around.

SailorDave on April 2, 2007 at 8:00 PM

… even the incredibly cynical hand-wringing pseudo-worry that a NASA Mars mission MIGHT have killed off a theoretical life form

Theoretical? Have you checked dKos, DU or The View lately? My worry is that anything left on Mars will file a formal grievance over how we’ve dumbed down their pioneers.

SailorDave on April 2, 2007 at 8:06 PM

Rangle just gave the defetocrats a way out when they are confronted by this bill during the election cycle (a never ending cycle it seems). They can claim that the weren’t really voting on the timetable, they were voting on the additional funding not related to the military portion of this bill, including the timetable (in other words, I voted for the pork). That will make a few good sound bites for the next election.

Sound Bite #1: I support the troops but we really needed that additional domestic funding. It’s not MY fault, it’s Bush’s fault as this was the only way that funding could make it into any bill due to republican interference of the democratic process.

Sound Bite #2: It was my understanding that the timetable provision is only a recommendation and I voted for the bill based on that understanding. It is my understanding that the bill addressed the president’s war funding request and actually increased funding for other badly needed domestic issues.

Sound Bite #3: If the president wasn’t bogged down by this illegal and immoral war in Iraq, he would understand that the funding bill contained more than just military funding. This bill also contained badly needed domestic funding. Perhaps the timetable idea is a good one as it will force the president to address other, more imperative domestic issues that he and the republicans always seem to ignore.

RedinBlueCounty on April 2, 2007 at 8:18 PM


Yahoo has an AP article posted on this with some interesting statements.

An excerpt from the article:

Reid’s new strategy faces an uphill battle because many of his colleagues see yanking funds as a dangerous last resort.


Check out:

91Veteran on April 2, 2007 at 9:17 PM

So what? He admitted what everyone knows, just like Feinstein and the military bidding. It does not matter how the liberals conduct business, only how conservatives conduct business.

right2bright on April 2, 2007 at 9:19 PM

You know how much it must suck to have a majority for the first time in 12 years, and yet not have enough votes to pass a non-binding piece of legislation?

amerpundit on April 2, 2007 at 9:34 PM

“One of the worst things this country did was get involved in the Middle East.” Eh Earth to Rangel, jihadists flew planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and failed at attacking either the Capitol or the White House. Put down the crack pipe, you strange man.

aengus on April 2, 2007 at 9:37 PM

I will guarantee you that if Charlie Rangel wrote a book it is in crayon…the man is a total idiot, a racial divider and a thief…think “Harlem Developement Zone”.

DoctorDentons on April 3, 2007 at 6:44 AM

A Democrat telling the truth? Someone please check and see if hell did in fact freeze over.

Long Island Pete on April 3, 2007 at 11:29 AM