The House late Thursday defeated an amendment from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) that would prohibit the use of federal dollars toward combat operations in Iraq amid the country’s growing unrest.
Rejected in a 165-250 vote, Lee’s amendment to the fiscal 2015 Defense appropriations bill would have blocked the use of funds for new U.S. military intervention. Lee said Congress should go on the record in opposition to sending more U.S. troops to Iraq.
“We must not let history repeat itself,” Lee said. “These calls to be dragged back into Iraq must be rejected.”Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) argued that the nearly decade-long Iraq war was more than enough U.S. involvement.
“We are right to stay out of this thing,” Ellison said. “What have we learned if 11 years has not taught us?”
Ellison urged for a diplomatic solution to combat the Sunni extremist group ISIS.
“If we want to help, what we should do is engage the regional community the countries around Iraq and Iraqi leaders in a diplomatic solution that hopefully includes them having a more inclusive, less abusive government,” Ellison said.
But Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), the chairman of the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee, said Lee’s amendment would limit the U.S. government’s ability to respond to the conflict.
“This amendment, in my judgment, goes too far as it attempts to tie the U.S. government’s hands,” Frelinghuysen said.
Frelinghuysen further noted the limited debate time for Lee’s proposal. The Defense appropriations bill is being considered under a modified open rule, which allows members to offer an unlimited number of amendments but with only 10 minutes of debate.
“What’s occurring in Iraq is complicated and dangerous and violent. This is a complicated issue with multifaceted policy ramifications that really cannot be fully debated in an amendment in this short period of time,” Frelinghuysen said.
Lee also offered an amendment that would effectively sunset the 2002 authorization of military force against Iraq, but it was rejected 182-231.
Earlier Thursday, President Obama announced that he would send 300 military advisers to Iraq to boost government security forces.