Later, on July 20, by a vote of 291-137, the House approved an amendment to the foreign affairs authorization bill (H.R. 2601) by Representative Ros-Lehtinen stating that calls for "an early withdrawal" from Iraq are counterproductive and that it is U.S. policy to withdraw only "when it is clear that United States national security and foreign policy goals relating to a free and stable Iraq have been or are about to be achieved."
In floor action on the defense appropriations bill, a debate over a measure regarding religious tolerance at the Air Force Academy turned bitter and halted action on the measure for 45 minutes when Representative Obey objected to statements by Representative Hostettler. As reported by the committee, the bill included a provision stating the sense of Congress that "coercive and abusive religious proselytizing" at the Air Force Academy "as has been reported is inconsistent with the professionalism and standards required of those who serve at the Academy." The measure required the Air Force to develop and report on a plan "to maintain a climate free from coercive religious intimidation and inappropriate proselytizing."
Representative Hunter objected to the provision and proposed a substitute that voices support for religious tolerance and required the Secretary of the Air Force to develop and report on recommendations "to maintain a positive climate of religious freedom and tolerance at the United States Air Force Academy." Representative Obey offered a substitute to the Hunter proposal that restored much of the original language. In response to statements by Representative Hostettler, Representative Obey moved that the gentleman's words be taken down, which, if upheld by the chair, would have allowed no further statements for the day by the speaker. Representative Hostettler subsequently withdrew his remarks and the debate resumed. In the end, the House rejected the Obey amendment by a vote of 198-210, and the Hunter amendment prevailed. The conference agreement on the appropriations bill deleted the House-passed language. 2b1af7f3a8