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Thread: Bush To Ask For $200B More For Iraq War

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Bush To Ask For $200B More For Iraq War

    Iraq war budget jumps for 2008<br>

    Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
    September 22, 2007

    WASHINGTON -- -- After smothering efforts by war critics in Congress to drastically cut U.S. troop levels in Iraq, President Bush plans to ask lawmakers next week to approve another massive spending measure -- totaling nearly $200 billion -- to fund the war through next year, Pentagon officials said.

    If Bush's spending request is approved, 2008 will be the most expensive year of the Iraq war.

    U.S. war costs have continued to grow because of the additional combat forces sent to Iraq this year and because of efforts to quickly ramp up production of new technology, such as mine-resistant trucks designed to protect troops from roadside bombs. The new trucks can cost three to six times as much as an armored Humvee.

    The Bush administration said earlier this year that it probably would need $147.5 billion for 2008, but Pentagon officials now say that and $47 billion more will be required. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and other officials are to formally present the full request at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing Wednesday.

    The funding request means that war costs are projected to grow even as the number of deployed combat troops begins a gradual decline starting in December. Spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is to rise from $173 billion this year to about $195 billion in fiscal 2008, which begins Oct. 1.

    When costs of CIA operations and embassy expenses are added, the war in Iraq currently costs taxpayers about $12 billion a month, said Winslow T. Wheeler, a former Republican congressional budget aide who is a senior fellow at the Center for Defense Information in Washington.

    "Everybody predicts declines, but they haven't occurred, and 2008 will be higher than 2007," Wheeler said. "It all depends on what happens in Iraq, but thus far it has continued to get bloodier and more expensive. Everyone says we are going to turn the corner here, but the corner has not been turned."

    In 2004, the two conflicts together cost $94 billion; in 2005, they cost $108 billion; in 2006, $122 billion.

    The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are financed through a single administration request to Congress, and their costs are combined in the legislation.

    The new spending request is likely to push the cumulative cost of the war in Iraq alone through 2008 past the $600-billion mark -- more than the Korean War and nearly as much as the Vietnam War, based on estimates by government budget officials.

    OppositionAfter the defeat this week of Democratic proposals to force faster troop withdrawals from Iraq, the new funding request presents a potential target for war critics on Capitol Hill.

    "Now that we have a Democratic Congress and the war is less popular and we are not talking about $100 billion a year but $200 billion a year -- some of which is not directly war-related -- the question is whether the Congress will slim it down," said Steven M. Kosiak, vice president of budget studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

    Despite setbacks, the staunchest war opponents on Capitol Hill are pushing for new limits.

    This week, Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-Wis.) unsuccessfully proposed cutting funding by next summer for most military operations in Iraq. In the House, antiwar lawmakers have gathered 80 signatures on a letter they plan to send to Bush expressing their opposition to "appropriating any additional funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq other than a time-bound, safe redeployment."

    But Republicans continue to oppose such funding limitations. And it is unlikely that any funding cut could win a majority in either chamber. Feingold's proposal garnered only 28 votes Thursday, as 20 Democrats joined 49 Republicans and one independent to quash it.

    "The additional funding is so closely tied to the safety of U.S. troops, the Democrats are unwilling to challenge it, even though it is a potential point of leverage for forcing a drawdown," said Loren B. Thompson, a military analyst with the Lexington Institute think tank.

    The Bush administration's initial estimate of 2008 costs, released in February, did not include money for the troop buildup.

    The military needs additional money to continue the deployment of those forces, which are due to withdraw between December and July.

    Still, military budget analysts said that just a fraction of $47 billion would go to support the additional forces. The bulk of the money would be spent on better armor, weapons systems and fixing the materiel ground down by the punishing environment of Iraq.

    Kosiak estimates about $15 billion of the new request would be used to cover the additional troops.

    "They don't want to just replace what was worn out and destroyed, they want to get better stuff, and get more stuff in some cases," he said.

    New armored trucks
    Military leaders hope that new armored vehicles like "mine resistant ambush protected" vehicles can better protect forces in Iraq. Production of MRAPs, which have a V-shaped hull to deflect bomb blasts, is being dramatically ramped up, and the military is seeking to speed their delivery to Iraq, where improvised explosives remain the gravest threat to troops.

    Defense contractors produced 82 MRAPs in June. The Pentagon has set a production target of 1,300 a month by December.

    MRAPs were once primarily seen as a vehicle suited for clearing bombs from roads, but the Army is gradually coming to the conclusion that it needs to replace most of its Humvees with the better-armored vehicles, said Thompson, who also has consulted for defense contractors.

    "This was a modest program that has grown into the biggest armored-vehicle program in a generation," he said.

    Demands for better armor, coupled with the ease with which insurgents can make roadside bombs, suggest that even as troops gradually draw down, war costs could remain high.

    A study released this week by the Congressional Budget Office estimated that a long-term presence of 55,000 troops in Iraq would cost $25 billion to $30 billion a year if those troops were regularly involved in combat operations.

    But it may be some time before the U.S. force reaches such a small size, and budgets in the years to come are likely to be far larger than those estimates.

    Pentagon analysts are working on 2009 budget estimates, to be unveiled early next year. Even if the Bush administration reduces the size of the force in Iraq in 2008, analysts expect the 2009 budget to remain between $170 billion and $200 billion.

    "As long as large numbers of U.S. troops and civilian contractors are deployed in the country," Thompson said, "it is going to cost billions of dollars a month to protect them."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    I can't wait for the new "back and forth" between Democrats and Republicans, and then ultimately, the go-ahead for $200B.

    How much do you wanna bet that's exactly what will happen?
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  3. #3
    AuGmENTor Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Gold9472
    I can't wait for the new "back and forth" between Democrats and Republicans, and then ultimately, the go-ahead for $200B.

    How much do you wanna bet that's exactly what will happen?
    Only if I can take your side of the bet... You KNOW that's what's going to happen.

  4. #4
    beltman713 Guest

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Public Favors Democrats to Handle Iraq, Health Care

    By Jon Cohen and Dan Balz
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Monday, October 1, 2007; 6:16 PM

    Most Americans oppose fully funding President Bush's $190 billion request for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a sizable majority supports an expansion of a children's health insurance bill the president has promised to veto, putting Bush and many congressional Republicans on the wrong side of public opinion on upcoming foreign and domestic policy battles.

    The new Washington Post-ABC News poll also shows deep dissatisfaction with the president and Congress. Bush's approval rating stands at 33 percent, equal to his career low in Post-ABC polls. Congressional approval is even lower: Just 29 percent approve of the job the Congress is doing. That is Congress's lowest approval rating in this poll since November 1995, when Republicans controlled both the House and Senate, and represents a 14-point drop since Democrats took control last January.

    Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

    Still, the public rates congressional Republicans (29 percent approve) lower than congressional Democrats (38 percent approve). And when the two parties are pitted directly against one another, the public broadly favors Democrats to handle Iraq, health care, the federal budget and the economy. Only on the issue of terrorism are Republicans at parity with Democrats.

    Part of the dissatisfaction with Congress stems from the stalemate between Democrats and the White House over Iraq policy. Most Americans do not think Congress has gone far enough in opposing the war, with liberal Democrats especially critical of their party's failure to force the president into a significant change in policy.

    Overall, 55 percent of Americans want congressional Democrats to do more to challenge the president's Iraq war policies, while only a third think the Democrats have already gone too far. The level of agitation for more action in opposition to the war has not dissipated since August 2005, when Democrats were the minority party in Congress.

    More than eight in 10 liberal Democrats said Congress has been too restrained, while about the same percentage of conservative Republicans said it has been too aggressive. A narrow majority of independents, 53 percent, wants more congressional action.

    At the same time, there is no consensus about the pace of any U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq. In July, nearly six in 10 said they wanted to decrease the number of troops there, but now a slim majority, 52 percent, thinks Bush's plan for removing some troops by next summer is either the right pace for withdrawal (38 percent) or too hasty (12 percent would like a slower reduction and 2 percent want no force reduction); fewer, 43 percent, want a quicker exit.

    A central challenge for all policymakers is that those who want more congressional action are not unanimous in what they would like Congress to do. Almost all of those who would like congressional Democrats to do more to oppose the Iraq war disapprove of how the president has handled the war effort, but about a quarter want U.S. troops to remain in Iraq until civil order is restored, and more than a third see Bush's plan to withdraw the "surge" troops by next summer as about right or even too fast.

    There is broader public agreement, however, on how Congress should approach the war funding issue. Only about a quarter of all adults want Congress to fully fund the administration's $190 billion request for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next year, while two-thirds want the proposed allocation reduced, with 43 percent wanting it reduced sharply. (Three percent say Congress should approve no money at all.)

    Two-thirds of independents want Congress to reduce the funds allocated for the war effort, as do 83 percent of Democrats; 45 percent of Republicans agree.

    Bush and the Republicans may also be headed for a political setback from the fight over the State Children's Health Insurance Program, even if Congress fails to override Bush's threatened veto, with broad bipartisan support for the new legislation.

    More than seven in 10 support the planned $35 billion spending increase, and only 25 percent are opposed. About half of Americans "strongly" support the increased spending; 17 percent are that firmly against the additional money. And the program expansion has majority support across party lines: Eighty-one percent of Democrats, 69 percent of independents and 61 percent of Republicans are in favor.

    Democrats hold a big edge over Republicans on handling the nation's health-care issues more generally. Overall, 56 percent said they trust Democrats to handle health care, and 26 percent side with the GOP on the issue. About one in eight doesn't trust either major party. Only 30 percent give Bush positive marks on his handling of health care. Democrats also have public trust leads on other key issues, including Iraq (Democrats have a 15-point advantage), the economy (18 points) and handling the federal budget deficit (23 points). The two parties are at parity on handling the U.S. campaign against terrorism; 41 percent put more faith in the Democrats on the issue, 40 percent in the Republicans.

    Translating these advantages into political momentum, however, has proved a tricky proposition. Congressional ratings are low, and falling, and despite progress toward some of the Democrats' primary stated goals, few Americans credit Congress with significant progress this year.

    Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

    The drop-off in Congress's approval rating over the past six months has been precipitous among Democrats and independents. Barely a third of liberal Democrats now approve of the job Congress is doing; in April, 59 percent approved. Among independents, 24 percent approve, equaling last year's pre-election low mark for the GOP-controlled Congress.

    Independents broke heavily for Democratic candidates in the 2006 midterm elections, powering their takeover.

    In this poll, independents spread their discontent. About three in 10 rate Democrats in Congress positively, while just 23 percent give congressional Republicans a good review. Since April, independents' support for the Democrats in Congress is down 20 percentage points; approval of the Republicans is down 11 points.

    The congressional Democrats have also lost some of their standing among self-identified Democrats and Republicans, as their overall rating has dipped from 54 percent in April to 38 percent in this poll. At 29 percent, Republicans in Congress rate only as high as the institution.

    Deteriorating reviews of congressional job performance are linked to a broad-based assessment that Congress has not accomplished much this year. Overall, more than eight in 10 Americans, including large majorities across party lines, said Congress has accomplished "not too much" or "nothing at all" this year. And the percentage granting Congress more achievement is down from April, again led by declines among Democrats and independents.

    Few, however, pin a "do nothing" label solely on Congress.

    By a 2-1 margin, those who see little accomplishment in the Congress's first nine months place more blame for the inaction on the president and the GOP rather than on the majority Democrats. Some 51 percent place primary fault with the president and congressional Republicans, 25 percent on the Democrats; two in 10 volunteer that both parties share the blame equally. Among independents, 43 percent blame the Republicans, 23 percent the Democrats, and nearly three in 10 blame both sides equally.

    The poll was conducted Thursday through Sunday among a national random sample of 1,114 adults. The results from the full poll have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  6. #6
    AuGmENTor Guest
    What can you say about this? THey are ALL assholes.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Senate approves $150B in war funding


    By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer
    Mon Oct 1, 6:51 PM ET

    WASHINGTON - Thwarted in efforts to bring troops home from Iraq, Senate Democrats on Monday helped pass a defense policy bill authorizing another $150 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The 92-3 vote comes as the House planned to approve separate legislation Tuesday that requires President Bush to give Congress a plan for eventual troop withdrawals.

    The developments underscored the difficulty facing Democrats in the Iraq debate: They lack the votes to pass legislation ordering troops home and are divided on whether to cut money for combat, despite a mandate by supporters to end the war.

    Hoping the political landscape changes in coming months, Democratic leaders say they will renew their fight when Congress considers the money Bush wants in war funding.

    While the Senate policy bill authorizes the money to be spent, it does not guarantee it; Bush will have to wait until Congress passes a separate appropriations bill before war funds are transferred to military coffers.

    "I think that's where you're going to see the next dogfight," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., of the upcoming war spending bill.

    Democrats say their options include directing that the money be spent on bringing troops home instead of combat; setting a date when money for the war is cut off, and identifying a goal to end the war to try to pressure Bush to bring troops home.

    Similar attempts have been made but fell short of the 60 votes needed to overcome procedural hurdles in the Senate.

    "Many of us have reached a breaking point on this," said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill. "I've done this for too many years. I've waited for the president to start bringing this war to an end. I'm not going to sign up for this any longer."

    In the House, Democrats are pushing for a bill that would require the administration to report to Congress in 60 days and every 90 days thereafter on the status of its redeployment plans in Iraq.

    The bill, sponsored by Democrats John Tanner of Tennessee and Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, was initially cast aside as too mild by Democratic leaders focused on tougher proposals ordering troops home this fall.

    But after Democrats were unable to peel off Republican support, the Iraq debate stalled and some four dozen rank-and-file Democrats demanded a vote on the Abercrombie-Tanner bill.

    "This will be the first time since the war in Iraq began that we are working together as a Congress instead of one party or another to be a constructive voice in the civilian management of operations in Iraq," Tanner said in a statement e-mailed to the Associated Press.

    In February, Bush requested more than $140 billion for the war, and is expected to ask for another $42 billion to cover costs in the 2008 budget year, which began Monday. The Senate's defense policy bill authorizes Bush's initial request, plus an additional $23 billion for the purchase of bomb-resistent vehicles.

    In addition to war money, the Senate's defense policy bill authorizes more than a half trillion dollars in annual military programs, including such big-ticket items as $10.1 billion for missile defense.

    Republicans predict the bill is on track to be vetoed by President Bush because it includes hate-crimes legislation by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. The White House has said Kennedy's proposal, which would let federal law enforcement help states prosecute attacks on gays, is unnecessary.

    The House passed its version of the defense authorization bill in May by a 397-27 vote. That $646 billion measure would trim hundreds of millions of dollars from some weapons modernization programs and use the money instead to aid troops in combat.

    The House bill has drawn a veto threat from the White House because of provisions insisting the military rely heavily on American-made products and proposed changes to the Pentagon's personnel policies.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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