11/06/2007 11:13 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Obey: Can't Say If We'll Fund Bunker Busters Aimed at Iran

On Monday, Rep. David Obey, the top appropriator in the House, was questioned at the National Press Club about the President's request for bunker buster bombs that Reps. Moran and McDermott charge are aimed at Iran. The CSPAN video is here.

The question is at 42:12. In response, Obey discussed the sorry history of U.S. policy towards Iran, including the coup against the Mossadegh government 50 years ago. The questioner (Sam Husseini of the Institute for Public Accuracy) got in a follow-up at 45:33: "Will you fund the bunker busters?"

Obey's response: "Well, I don't have the power to determine whether we will or will not do anything. I certainly think that the bunker busters raise very serious questions about what the Administration's intentions are and I'm very skeptical that we ought to proceed but that's going to have to be a collective decision."

This was an odd response. Of course, it's technically accurate that Obey can't decide by himself whether to fund or not fund something. But he could clearly state his own opposition to the funding, and obviously he has more than average influence.

His response suggests that there are other Democrats who do want to fund bunker busters aimed at Iran. Who are they? Inquiring minds want to know.

Recall that AP reported on October 28 that Rep. Moran said he expects the Democratic leadership will refuse to pay for an $88 million Administration request to continue development of a 30,000-pound bomb called the Massive Ordnance Penetrator and $4.2 million to modify the B-2 bomber to carry it:

Rep. Jim Moran, a member of the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense, said outfitting a bomber designed to evade sophisticated enemy detection with such a weapon means the Pentagon has in mind destroying targets in either North Korea and Iran. "There's no question that there are some within the Bush administration who are pushing for war in Iran," Moran, D-Va., said in a telephone interview Friday. "And these were the same ones who were pushing for war in Iraq."

Moran said he expects the Democratic leadership will refuse to pay for the research.

So, according to Rep. Moran, there is something called the "Democratic leadership" that can "refuse" to pay for the funding request. Presumably, that "Democratic leadership" includes Rep. Obey, the chair of the Appropriations Committee.

Ask Congress not to fund the bunker buster aimed at Iran.