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Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke’s Statement on the FY 2010 Supplemental Appropriations Act

Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4899, the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010 with a vote of 308 to 114. Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement on her decision to vote against the legislation:

“Unfortunately the Senate has decided to short change our school children, teachers and youth while continuing to pay for the fruitless war in Afghanistan. Senators stripped critical House-passed funding provisions from the legislation that would have provided for teacher jobs, summer youth employment, and college Pell grants. The bill also does not include critical funding to maintain first responder, police or firefighter positions despite the fundamental need for those jobs in Brooklyn and every community in America,” stated Rep. Yvette D. Clarke.

The Senate version of the War Supplemental bill stripped the following House –passed investments:

•$10 billion for teacher jobs;
•$1 billion for summer youth employment;
•$5 billion for Pell grants; and
•$701 million for border security.

Since the devastating earthquake that ravaged Haiti over six months ago, Rep. Clarke has advocated for critical programs to bring forth a stabilized and prosperous Haiti, including:

•$1 million to establish a Haitian-American Enterprise Fund to support small and mid-sized Haitian businesses and infrastructure development;
•increased funding for the proposed Haitian Diaspora Young Professionals Fellowship Program to ensure that more Haitians living in the United States and across the globe can participate in the development of their homeland;
•robust funding for the reunification of Haitian families and children services; and
•funding to protect women against gender based violence in tent cities and promote gender equality in Haiti.

Clarke added, “As representative of the second largest population of Haitian immigrants in the United States, I advocated more robust reconstruction and economic development support for Haiti than provided for in this legislation. With no opportunity to amend the Senate legislation, I had no choice but to vote against the bill.”

To express her concerns with the Senate version of the bill, Congresswoman Clarke also joined other members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus in issuing the following joint statement:


Once again, war is being paid for with a credit card while investments in our children’s future are tossed aside. These investments – $10 billion for teacher jobs, $1 billion for summer youth employment, $5 billion for Pell grants, $701 million for border security – were cut from the war funding bill coming to the House floor despite being fully paid for and not adding to the budget deficit. They have been jettisoned in favor of further borrowed war spending. Today’s bill doesn’t include anything to maintain first responder, police or firefighter positions despite the dramatic need for those jobs in every community in America. We believe this is fiscal insanity and a moral tragedy.
Consider the following: Despite widespread shortfalls in education funding around the country, the $10 billion that would have saved 140,000 teacher jobs across the nation – all of it offset – has been cut. The $37.12 billion in war funding, on the other hand, is not paid for. Every single penny adds directly to the national debt. This is not good for national security. This is continuing a failed policy at the exact wrong time.

The bill before the House denies our children the right to an education and takes away their future earning power. It also adds to the economic burden they will eventually have to bear. This is a moral outrage. We find it unacceptable that this Congress places a greater priority on foreign wars than urgent domestic needs. We have compounded our moral short-sightedness with utter fiscal irresponsibility.

After the dramatic revelations of this week, it is clearer than ever just how daunting a task our troops face in Afghanistan. We are trying to build a modern, democratic state in an area divided by tribal and ethnic identities that has successfully resisted foreign powers for centuries. We are fighting for one side in a civil war, killing civilians, building resentment toward the United States, and making it nearly impossible to gain the popular support that could make success possible.

As multiple reports have shown, pervasive corruption in Iraq and Afghanistan siphons resources so that even worthwhile projects are doomed to fail. This is not how we want to spend borrowed money. Our people at home are facing a difficult job market, lower funding for education, and a shattered Gulf economy that needs significant attention. We need to prioritize and make the right choices, not continue as before out of inertia or a lack of urgency. We urge the president to consider how this spending really improves the lives of Americans and how it can be spent in more productive ways.