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Liveblogging the Senate war spending debate; Update: Republicans abandon fiscal conservatism, vote for non-war lard-up; Update: Roll call vote added, McCain skips vote; Update: Spending bill passes, 70-26

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By Michelle Malkin  •  May 22, 2008 12:04 PM

Scroll down for updates…GOP abandons fiscal conservatism in droves, domestic spending bill lard-up passes 75-22, roll call vote below…McCain AWOL…

It’s high noon and the Senate is voting a domestic spending amendment to the emergency Iraq war supplemental bill that stuffs $10 billion more in non-war-related spending into the package passed by the House.

The items include:

- A 13-week extension of unemployment benefits (for my previous posts on why this is a bad idea, see here and here );
- a provision blocking Medicaid rules implemented by the Bush administration;
- global food aid and $5.8 billion for Hurricane Katrina recovery costs.

Here’s an explanation of what’s going on:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday reached an agreement on a process for Senate consideration of the war supplemental appropriations bill (HR 2642), including a provision to delay for one year seven new Medicaid regulations proposed by the Bush administration, the AP/Detroit News reports (Taylor, AP/Detroit News, 5/22).

As part of the agreement on the legislation, the Senate will vote on a domestic spending amendment drafted by Senate Appropriations Committee Democrats that includes the Medicaid provision. In the event that the amendment does not receive 60 votes — the threshold on which Senate leaders agreed — they will remove the measure, and therefore the Medicaid provision, from the bill. The amendment likely will not receive 60 votes, according to CQ Today.

After the vote on the amendment, the Senate will consider other measures related to war spending and policy conditions for those funds. The Senate likely will send a final version of the bill to the House on Thursday or Friday. The House likely will consider the version of the legislation sent by the Senate during the first week of June, according to a senior House aide.

Senate leaders hope that agreement — which likely will “anger House Democrats and Senate appropriators, who have wrestled over the package of add-ons and trumpeted their efforts to change war policy” — will “head off President Bush’s plans to veto the measure” (Rogin, CQ Today, 5/21).

Staying tuned…

12:09pm Eastern. The domestic spending amendment passes, 75-22–veto-proof. I’ll post the roll call vote as soon as it’s up.

I guess this is the abandonment of fiscal conservatism we deserve:

Republicans help Democrats add to war funding bill

Senate Republicans have broken with President Bush to help Democrats add help for veterans and the unemployed to a bill paying for another year of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The 75-22 vote also adds billions of dollars in other domestic funds such as heating subsidies for the poor and money for fighting wildfires to the $165 billion for the military operations overseas.

The vote is a rebuke to Bush, who has promised to veto the measure if it contains the domestic measures. However, the president still has enough GOP support to sustain a veto.

The House still has to act on the bill. Last week, the House voted to reject money for continuing the war.

***

1:12pm Eastern. Here’s the roll call vote. Take note of those who skipped out on the vote…

1rollsupp.jpg

***

3:00pm Eastern. The supplemental bill has passed, 70-26. 24 Dems voted no, along with GOP Sen. Gordon Smith and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders.

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