The House Leadership postponed consideration of a Supplemental Appropriations bill following objections by Blue Dog Democrats to the expansion of veterans’ education benefits as a violation of the “pay-as-you-go” principles. The 47 member Blue Dog Coalition threatened to vote against the rule for the expected $184 billion supplemental appropriations package that includes $162.5 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and almost $10 billion for the International Affairs Budget. In a rare procedural move, the House was planning to bypass consideration of the supplemental package by the Appropriations Committee and consider three amendments to HR 2642, the FY 2008 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations, which will serve as the legislative vehicle.
Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee will convene to mark-up the FY08 and FY09 supplemental bill. The Senate version seeks a total of $193 billion in emergency supplemental funding for FY08 and FY09, $9 billion more than the House. The majority of the increase is focused on domestic programs, with a slight increase in FY08 Supplemental funding for the Defense Department ($415 million above the Administration’s request).