U.S. House candidate challenges Welch on Iraq war funding

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Progressive U.S. House candidate Thomas Hermann says incumbent Congressman Peter Welch hasn’t been completely honest with Vermont voters over funding the Iraq war.

The Welch campaign says Hermann’s allegations simply aren’t true.

VPRs Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) Throughout his first term in office, Congressman Welch has said that he wouldn’t vote for legislation funding the Iraq War unless the bill also contained a time line for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Progressive U.S. House candidate Thomas Hermann says Welch has broken that promise.

Hermann points to Welch’s vote in favor of a continuing budget resolution in late September of last year.

The legislation authorized a 6 week extension of all federal government spending because Congressional negotiators had reached an impasse on a new budget.  The measure included additional funds for the Iraq War.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 408 to 14.  If the House had rejected the continuing resolution, the federal government would have been forced to close down.

Speaking on VPRs Vermont Edition, Hermann says he would have voted to shut the government down in order to bring more attention to the war issue:

(Hermann) "I think it would cause complete for lack of a better word anarchy and chaos but I think it would take that type of imperative actions to put this into the spotlight."

Carolyn Dwyer is Welch’s campaign spokesperson. She says Welch has consistently voted against funding for the war unless a timetable for troop withdrawal was included.

She says most of the anti war members of the House didn’t view this bill as a key war issue and instead voted for it to keep the federal government in operation:

(Dwyer) "It was his judgment that it would be inappropriate to shut down government whereby denying services to seniors children veterans to all those who count on government for the daily services it provides he was not alone in this view over 400 members of Congress agreed to the continuing resolution…I don’t see this in any way as a litmus test on whether someone is against the war or not."

Progressive candidate Hermann moved to Vermont last winter. He says he doesn’t think his lack of experience or knowledge about Vermont is a liability in his campaign.

For VPR News I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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