July 2nd, 2010
04:02 PM ET
8 years ago

Pelosi defies Obama

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defied a veto threat from the White House.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defied a veto threat from the White House.

Washington (CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a rare House floor vote Thursday defying a veto threat from President Obama and further emphasizing her concerns about the war in Afghanistan.

Pelosi's vote was in favor of an amendment to the Pentagon spending bill. It would have placed tough restrictions on funding for the war in Afghanistan - including a demand for a detailed troop withdrawal plan and a threat to pull money for the war if the military stays beyond next summer.

The amendment failed. But 153 Democrats, well over half the House Democratic caucus, and nine Republicans voted for it, despite a White House veto threat that passage of the amendment would undermine the President's "ability as Commander in Chief to conduct military operations in Afghanistan."

It would have required the President to give Congress a new intelligence report on Afghanistan by January and a plan for withdrawing troops by April. If the President didn't follow through on his pledge to start bringing troops home by July 2011, Congress would need to approve additional funding for the war.

The late night vote was a clear message from the President's own party that it is restless about his war strategy in Afghanistan.

Typically the Speaker of the House doesn't cast votes, but shortly before midnight Pelosi's office released a written statement from the Speaker publicizing her vote for the amendment.

"Our men and women in uniform continue to perform heroically in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world, and it is critical that Congress has the most up-to-date information as we debate policies that impact our soldiers, their families and our national security," Pelosi said.

The public statement from the Speaker, who has previously admitted her concerns about the war in Afghanistan, came only hours after she refused to be pinned down at her weekly press conference about whether she favored attaching conditions or timelines to the war funding measure.

Massachusetts Democrat Rep. Jim McGovern, one of the key sponsors of the amendment, put out a statement Friday touting Pelosi's support and rare vote and said the vote represented a "milestone" in the debate over Afghanistan. He said it was part of a continued push by Democrats to press the Obama Administration to get troops out.

"This vote should send a signal to the Administration that Congress is increasingly troubled by risking the lives of our troops and borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars for 'nation-building' in Afghanistan while we are facing a dire economic situation here at home. I will continue to work to build bi-partisan support for a meaningful exit strategy from this war," McGovern said.

The House ultimately passed the President's request for $37 billion in war money. But House Democrats also added over $20 billion in domestic spending to the measure. Because the Senate version doesn't include the additional money, the Pentagon will have to wait until Congress comes back from its July 4th break to work out a final bill.

In addition to breaking with the President on Afghanistan, Pelosi also brushed back the White House's request not to cut $800 million from the Administration's top education initiatives, including a school reform program called "Race to the Top." Hours before the vote, the White House released a statement saying it would recommend a veto if Democrats slashed the programs. But Democrats ignored the threat and cut the money in order to pay for their own education priority to help states avoid teacher lay offs.

Follow Deirdre Walsh on Twitter: @deirdrewalshcnn

Filed under: Afghanistan • Nancy Pelosi • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Albo58

    This was a pathetic grandstand by Queen Nan to pacify her far left loon base! She's going to rubber stamp any and everything this charlatan President wants and that's fact! Can you imagine if you owned a company and this shrew was your CEO? You'd be bankrupt in less than a month!

    July 2, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    Yeah, pull out and leave it up to our kids to deal with Al Qaeda. Along with all of the debt we can ring up too! We can just blame it on the Bush Administration, right?

    July 2, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  3. The Real Me

    I would follow Obama into battle only out of morbid curiosity.

    July 2, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  4. wallst

    Pelosi would vote against a war if the North Koreans were in her backyard.

    July 2, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  5. Mike

    Isn't it blatantly obvious by now that Obama is trying to make up for his complete lack of military service and experience by pursuing this war in hopes that a victory would shut the mouths of his detractors? Well I applaud him for this even though I don't agree with much he does.
    The war in Afghanistan should have been completed the first time instead of going into Iraq. Iraq needed to be done too but we should have finished the job in Afghanistan first. We didn't, and now the Taliban is gaining strength.
    Bush failed in that regard and O is just trying to fix it. I don't often applaud him but I will here. Pelosi needs to resign. She has no clue.

    July 2, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. BJ

    Beloved Obama, bring the troops now, screw Ben Laden (he probably didn't exist anyway – remember how Bush had his so called family members escorted safely out of the US?) and take back all of the money Karzai is robbing us of daily.

    July 2, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. Ancient Texan

    Nothing this woman does or says is surprising to me. She's totally divorced from reality, being convinced she's the only person alive to know what is best for the country and her agenda.

    July 2, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. thor

    There's touble brewing in la la land !!! poor Nancy........

    July 2, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. BILL, WI

    Pelosi is saying and giving emphasis to what RNC Chair Steele is identifying. The war will at least be succesful if the U.S. stays until Afghanistan is stable. If by the end of summer of 2011 the war going too slowly for Pelosi to stomach and forces the U.S. to withdraw then Steele is correct.

    July 2, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. Marty, FL

    Good to see a bipartisan effort to initiate a real debate on the direction of our efforts in Afghanistan. America could benefit from more independent thinkers in our government beyond party affiliations.

    July 2, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  11. Tim

    It's nice to see someone who's normally a hack for her party take a truly progressive stand. End this war. End all wars. Time to evolve, America.

    July 2, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Pelosi's vote was in favor of an amendment to the Pentagon spending bill. It would have placed tough restrictions on funding for the war in Afghanistan
    BEFORE you GObPers wet your pants with glee over an APPARENT dissent between Madame Speaker and our President, gather what few working wits you may have left and think about this.

    I happen to agree with Pelosi. 1000%. Why you might ask? Well after the LAST DEBACLE known as W and the liberties he took misappropriating funds to take us to an unnecessary war of unknown duration, I can't balme Ms. Pelosi for being a little leery. I don't care who the President is. I too want to know how much are we spending, how long we're going to be engaged, and when are we getting the hell out.

    I appreciate Pelosi being concerned about the office of the President having this type of power. ANY PRESIDENT. Especially based on RECENT HISTORY. I also appreciate her concern about knowing the parameters of any military engagement and NOT having all details secuestered by one branch of the government.

    Regardless. Unlike Rethugs, Pelosi and President Obama are civilized members of our government. They can will have discussions on this subject, and if necessary agree to disagree and go have cold one afterwards.

    Happy Fourth of July to everyone.

    July 2, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  13. Mary J

    And I continue to admire this woman. The only thing in this war that seems to be showing rewards are the drone strikes, with or without civilian casualties. And I couldn't agree more with the President that the American educational system needs to be revised, but you need not try to Race to the Top if you don't have teachers in the classrom or you have a classroom size of 40 kids. Large classes may work in other countries where children respect authority and schools and parents have effective means to dealing with rowdy children, but that is there and this is here. I believe Madam Chairman has her feet on the firm ground of reality here.

    July 2, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  14. Jim El Paso Tx

    Nancy voted for the amendment ONLY because she knew there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell of it passing an thus making herself look as though she wasn't under Obama's spell. She's a snake!

    July 2, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  15. joe m

    if there is anyone who could possibly be a worse choice at directing the course of action in Afghanistan it woul be Pelosi. this is her attempt to push he ultra-left ideology without regard for anything else.

    July 2, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  16. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Pelosi I know you are only doing what your constituents in San Fran want. However Obama is right on this one and you need to let the boss do his job. Besides Obama already said a million times that we will start to pull-out next summer. All of you wing-nuts need to shut your pieholes and give Obama your 100% support to help give the troops better morale and help with the rebuilding process.

    July 2, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  17. Marlene

    Nothing will satisfy the GObPers, except to have everything their way. The GObP leadership is for war, big business, big banks, big oil, Wall Street, doing nothing of immigration reform, nothing on energy, nothing on anything but tax cuts for the wealthy. In the last ten years what have the GObPers done for middle america – NOTHING!

    July 2, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  18. Jane

    Apparently Pelosi is in a power struggle with the white house....no one threatens the princess.

    July 2, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    I want out of this war, but with a new General only days from deployment to be calling for an exact dates is irresponsible on Pelosi part.
    The time is all wrong.

    July 2, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  20. sherm

    this only reinforces my opinion of nancy pelosi. Even Obama seems to get -how can you gain any ground in a war when you announce your end date? could you imagine in ww2 if we told the germans when we were gonna start leaving europe, or if we told the japanese, we'll leave the pacific by a certain date? we'd all be speaking german or japanese by now. this is the definition of insanity. either stop telling the world our end date, fully commit to winning or bring back our troops now, and roll the dice if al-queda/taliban get hold of pakistan's nukes. btw-i have children deployed, so don't give my the bs about caring for the troops. wish we could impeach nancy pelosi

    July 2, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  21. David

    Basically I support the Obama Administration on the majority of his decisions and initiatives. However, the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq are unwinnable and we should pull our troops and resources out immediately. In order to win the war in Afghanistan alone, the American people must be willing to commit at least 500,000 ground troops by cranking up the draft, use small or large tactical nuclear weapons, not worry about civilian deaths and triple our current expenditure. Anything short of this is just politics and nothing more than what we saw in Vietnam. I say, "Let’s get the hell out before more of out troops die for political reasons. This has nothing to do with protecting America.

    July 2, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  22. bob

    What does the war in Afghanistan have to do with "Race to the Top"?

    July 2, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  23. Darth Vadik, CA

    Here is a dilemma, how do RepubliKKKlans criticize both Obama and Pelosi on this one...

    ...they will find a way, LOL

    July 2, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  24. inofritzn

    You normal dems see how annoying the far left is? Good for Obama on this!

    July 2, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  25. bob

    We should ensure that any grandchild that Nancy Pelosi has is the last one of U.S. troops to leave Afghanistan(only after camping out for a week somewhere around Kandahar). Maybe that would change her tune about funding for the troops and how to conduct a pullout.

    July 2, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
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