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Transcript from Video of Rep. David Obey Yelling at a Military Mother
Rep. David Obey (DO): Chair of Appropriations Cmte, US House of Representatives
Tina Richards (TR): Mother of Iraq war Marine, soon to be deployed for a third time
Peter Perry (PP), citizen activist, Derwood, MD.
TR: Hi, I’m Tina Richards. I had left a poem that my son had written [with one of your staffers] I was wondering if he ever got it to you? He’s a United States Marine, he’s done two tours in Iraq… he’s going to be deployed for a third tour.
DO: I honestly don’t know, I’m so buried in appropriations bills, I only get back over here for about 10 minutes a day. I’ve seen very little in my office…
TR: OK, because my son is suffering from PTSD, he’s had several suicide attempts…
DO: I’m sorry to hear that…
TR: … he tried to get help through the VA, and it took us six months to get his first appointment with the VA, in ten minutes they told him, “It sounds like you’ve got childhood issues.” But he was able to do four years in the Marines, two deployments to Iraq, honorable discharge, presidential unit citation, and he was just fine for that, and now that he needs help from the VA, he’s been told that he’s got childhood issues.
DO: … we’re holding hearings today and Wednesday …they’re continually screwing those guys… the Washington Post is full of it…
TR: Well I’ve been talking about this for over a year now, and nobody seems to be paying much attention
DO: Well, I guarantee what’s happening at Walter Reed...[indephirable] …whole damn thing…
TR: Well what about the, umm, are you going to be voting against the supplemental?
DO: Absolutely not, I’m the sponsor of it for heaven sakes.
TR: For the …uhh.. to continue the war?
DO: It doesn’t. The President wants to continue the war. We’re trying to use the supplemental to end the war, but you can’t end the war by going against the supplemental. It’s time these idiot liberals understand that. There’s a big difference between funding the troops and ending the war. I’m not gonna deny body armor. I’m not gonna deny funding for veterans hospitals, defense hospitals, so you can help people with medical problems, that’s what you’re gonna do if you’re going against that bill.
TR: There should be enough money already in the regular defense bills…
DO: (interrupting) Well there isn’t.
TR: … without continuing the funding for the war.
DO: There isn’t. There isn’t. That’s not the way it works. The money in the defense bill, it pays for a standing army, but it doesn’t pay for these recurring costs. We’re gonna add over a billion dollars more to what the President was asking for in that bill, so we can deal with exactly the type of problems you’re talking about. How the hell do you get money to the hospitals if you don’t provide the funding?
TR: Are you going to be in support of….
DO: I hate the war. I voted against it to start with. I was the first guy in Congress to call for Rumsfeld’s resignation, but we don’t have the votes to defund the war we shouldn’t because that also means defunding everything in that bill to help the guys who are the victims of war.
TR: Well there’s an amendment to the supplemental that’s being proposed to fully fund the withdrawal of the troops
DO: That makes no sense. It doesn’t work that way. The language we have in the resolution ends the authority for the war, it makes it illegal to proceed with the war. You don’t have to defund something if the war doesn’t exist.
TR: Oh, I didn’t know that was in the supplemental (DO talking over her)
DO: That’s the problem, that’s the problem. (emphatic right arm gesturing) The liberal groups are jumping around without knowing what the hell is in the bill! You don’t have to cut off the funding for an activity that no longer is legal!
TR: Oh, and then approach it from that way….
DO: we’re shutting it off
PP: (who had been standing back, listening, now approaches TR and DO).. What about the Church amendment that helped end the Vietnam war back in ’72, ’73?
DO: (Emphatically, voice raised) It took us 31 different efforts to get there, I was here for that.
PP: ok. (started to say something… PP and DO start talking over each other)
DO: I know what the hell I’m talking about.
PP: Did that end the ground war in Vietnam?
DO: No it didn’t. The political pressure on the administration ended the war.
The amendment that finally ended the funding was the [undecipherable] amendment, I was the sponsor of that amendment…
PP: But if you pass the resolution, isn’t he still the Commander in Chief? Then…
DO: (voice raised, leaning in towards PP) We don’t have the votes to pass it!
We couldn’t even get the votes to pass a nonbinding resolution one week ago!
How the hell do you think we’re gonna get the votes to cut off the war?
PP: By stopping the funding.
DO: How, if you don’t have the votes? It takes two hundred ….
PP: With a filibuster his supplemental request.
DO: There is no filibuster in the House.
PP: In the Senate they could do it and all they need is 41votes.
DO: I’m sorry…. No I’m not gonna vote for it ….. I’m the sponsor of the bill that’s gonna be on the floor, and that bill ends the war….. if that isn’t good enough for you, then you’re smoking something that ain’t legal!
PP: No I’m not, sir, no I’m not.
DO: You got your facts screwed up.
TR: (started to say something)
PP: It’s non-binding]. How would it affect what he’s doing on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?
DO: We don’t have the votes! (he then opens right side of suit jacket) Do you see a magic wand in my pocket?
DO: How the hell are we gonna got the votes for it? We ain’t got the votes! We do have the votes if you guys quit screwin’ it up. We do have the votes to end the legal authority to end the war, that’s the same as defunding it. (at this point a female staffer approaches Rep. Obey and taps him on the arm)..
PP: Tell us how we can help.....
DO: I’m not going to debate it, you’ve got your facts wrong…
(DO then turns and walks away with his staffer to enter his office.)
TR: The last question is ‘how can we help’ so we can talk together?
Staffer: (escorting DO away from the scene)
DO: Good bye! Goodbye!.