Harper, Palazzo Split on Vote to Help Syrian Rebels

The U.S. House had two important votes on Wednesday of last week. THOMAS (Congress.gov) is the official website for legislative information and is maintained by the Library of Congress. On the site you can not only get detailed information on the U.S. Senate and House and their members, but you can find all roll call votes of every member of Congress.

The first vote Wednesday was on an amendment to a bill that would fund the government until Dec. 11 or after the November elections. As most people know this is commonly called a continuing resolution (CR), which allows the government to operate after the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30 when all the necessary appropriation bills have not passed the House and Senate. Funding during the term of the continuing resolution will be at current levels for this fiscal year.

Democrats and Republicans split on the amendment that would allow the U.S. to train and arm Syrian rebels as part of President Barack Obama’s plans to expand our involvement in the Middle East against the Islamic State. The Mississippi delegation split on the vote with Rep. Gregg Harper voting with the majority while his Republican colleague Steven Palazzo opposed the amendment. Democrat Bennie Thompson joined Palazzo in opposition while Republican Alan Nunnelee did not vote as he recovers from surgery and a stroke. The amendment passed 273-156. Republicans split 159-71 in favor, while Democrats split 114-85 in favor of the amendment.

The CR passed 319-108 with both Harper and Palazzo voting “yes”, Thompson voting “no”, and Nunnelee again not voting. Republicans supported the CR by 176-53 and Democrats favored by 143-55. Some Republican purists and tea party Republicans feel that they must oppose any CR. At least this time, by an almost 3-1 margin, the Republican majority in the House realized that the alternative to passing the CR is nothing short of political suicide. That alternative is to shut down the federal government. Shutting down the government didn’t work the last time it happened and Republicans took a major political hit. In November the GOP will keep its majority in the House and has a fairly good chance to win a majority in the Senate. That is a lot more important for the conservative cause than casting a vote for purity that would keep Harry Reid and the Democrats in power.

A day after the votes in the House, both Mississippi’s U.S. Senators, Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, voted for passage of the CR. The Senate vote was 78-22.

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