The vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday night to raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion was significant in more ways than one. S. 365, which passed by a vote of 269-161, including the support of 174 Republicans, featured the vote of a House member who has been absent all year – Arizona Democrat Gabrielle Giffords.
Giffords was shot on January 8 in Tucson, Arizona, along with eighteen other people, six of whom died. After her brief trip to Washington, Giffords returned to Houston to continue her therapy.
Giffords was elected to Congress the first time in 2006. She took office on January 3, 2007. She was reelected in 2008 and 2010. She is the only member of Congress whose spouse is an active duty member of the military.
Although I wish her well and hope she makes a full recovery from her horrific head injury, I equally wish that she would stay home and not cast any more votes in Congress.
The following is a list of all the congressional appropriations that include war-related funding from the time that Giffords took office until the time she was shot:
- FY2007 Continuing Resolution, H.J.RES.20, P.L. 110-5, 2/15/07, $1.8 billion
- FY2007 Supplemental, H.R.2206, P.L. 110-28, 5/25/07, $98.7 billion
- FY2008 Continuing Resolution, H.J.Res.52, P.L. 110-92 9/29/07, $5.2 billion
- FY2008 DOD Appropriations Act, H.R.3222, P.L. 110-116, 11/13/07, $11.6 billion
- FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act, H.R.2764, P.L. 110-161, 12/26/07, $73.2 billion
- FY2008 Supplemental Appropriations Act, H.R.2642, P.L. 110-252, 6/30/08, $163.2 billion
- FY2009 Continuing Appropriations Act, H.R.2638, P.L. 110-329, 9/30/08, $4.0 billion
- FY2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act, H.R.1105, P.L. 111-8, 3/11/09, $1.1 billion
- FY2009 Supplemental Appropriations Act, H.R.2346, P.L. 111-32, 6/24/09, $82.5 billion
- FY2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act, H.R.3288, P.L. 111-117, 12/16/09, $8.2 billion
- FY2010 DOD Appropriations Act, Title IX, H.R.3326, P.L. 111-118, 12/19/09, $127.3 billion
- FY2010 Supplemental, H.R.4899, P.L. 111-212, 7/27/10, $34.2 billion
With the exception of the smallest appropriation, $1.1 billion in the FY2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act, Rep. Giffords voted for all of these war-related appropriations. Judging from her voting record in Congress, I see no reason why she voted against this omnibus bill. It certainly wasn’t because she opposed the $1.1 billion in funding for war-related foreign operations of the State Department.
On the other hand, that champion of peace and nonintervention in the House, Rep. Ron Paul, voted against all of these war appropriations, with the exception of the first one, on which he didn’t vote.
I am often criticized for condemning U.S. soldiers for fighting unjust and immoral wars like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is the politicians that send our troops to war, I am told, that I should be criticizing. Although I refuse to exclude the troops since, after all, they are the ones doing the actual fighting, I have nothing but contempt for the architects of these wars, the president who instigated these wars, the president who continued these wars, the neocons who welcomed these wars, the conservatives who defend these wars, the Christians who support these wars, and the Congressmen who continue to fund these wars.
Every member of Congress – Gabby Giffords and every Democrat and Republican – who voted for the above and any of the other war funding has blood on his (or her) hands – the blood of thousands of U.S. soldiers who lost their lives fighting senseless foreign wars. (Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of foreigners killed by U.S. bombs and bullets, but what war supporter cares a whit about them?)
Although not as important as lives lost and ruined, appropriating taxpayer money on senseless and unnecessary wars is the height of fiscal irresponsibility. Any talk of cutting spending to reduce the deficit that doesn’t include cutting off funding for foreign wars is ludicrous. But of course, we are dealing with the U.S. Congress – one of the largest collections of crooks and creeps on the planet.