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Thread: Bush Makes $82 Billion Request For Wars

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    Bush Makes $82 Billion Request For Wars

    Bush makes $82 billion request for wars
    Supplemental budget to fund Iraq, Afghan operations
    NBC News and news services
    Updated: 6:44 p.m. ET Feb. 14, 2005

    WASHINGTON - President Bush asked Congress on Monday to provide $81.9 billion more for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and for other U.S. efforts overseas, pushing the total price tag for the conflicts and anti-terror fight past $300 billion.

    Republicans hope to push the package through Congress by early spring, reflecting both parties’ desire to finance U.S. troops in the field and give Iraqis more responsibility following their national elections. Bush asked lawmakers to pay for the new spending by borrowing the money — which will make huge federal deficits even larger.

    “The majority of this request will ensure that our troops continue to get what they need to protect themselves and complete their mission,” Bush said in a statement accompanying his request.

    He also said the money would help continue the pursuit of terrorists and help the United States “seize the opportunity to build peace and democracy in the Middle East.”

    About $75 billion to Defense
    Included in the request is $74.9 billion for the Defense Department. About $5 billion is for reorganizing Army divisions and brigades and $5.7 billion for training and equipping Iraqi military and police, according to a federal official familiar with the request.

    The remaining money in the supplemental request includes:
    $2.242 billion to counter drugs, pay for security, and support democracy and reconstruction in Afghanistan.
    $950 million to help areas affected by the tsunami in the Indian Ocean.
    $660 million for construction of a U.S. embassy in Baghdad.
    $400 million to reward nations that have taken political and economic risks to join the U.S.-led coalitions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    $242 million for the Darfur region of western Sudan, where a two-year civil conflict has left tens of thousands of people dead and more than 2 million displaced.
    $200 million in education and border security aid for the Palestinians.
    $150 million in military aid for Pakistan.
    $60 million for Ukraine, which recently elected Viktor Yushchenko president.

    In a written statement, Bush said the special appropriation would support U.S. troops and help the United States “stand with the Iraqi people and against the terrorists trying desperately to block democracy and the advance of human rights.”

    Modernized brigades
    The Army wants to use the $5 billion to convert 33 brigades and regiments — about 30 of which are organized into 10 divisions — into a force of 43 to 48 brigades that would operate more independently.

    “Instead of having the brigade communicate with their divisions and the divisions communicate with their higher-ups, all 43 to 48 would be allowed to communicate with higher-ups and operate more or less independently,” said Steven Kosiak, an analyst with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and Budgetary Studies.

    Last week, Bush submitted an overall $2.5 trillion budget for fiscal 2006. That document called for restraining spending across a wide swath of government programs from popular farm subsidies to poor people’s health programs. Spending on the military, the biggest part of discretionary spending, would rise by 4.8 percent in 2006 to $419.3 billion.

    The money requested for the military did not include the additional $82 billion. Administration officials say that while it was not in the 2006 budget request, the $82 billion for ongoing military expenses in Iraq and the Middle East was built into the administration’s deficit projections.

    Administration end run?
    Some $50 billion of the request covers the basic costs of fighting the wars. But even before the president's request arrived on Capitol Hill, some members of Congress were questioning whether the Pentagon was padding the emergency request with non-emergency spending in an effort to restrict congressional oversight.

    For example, some said funding for additional unmanned Predator drone aircraft should not be included in an emergency spending bill.

    “It removes from our oversight responsibilities the scrutiny that these programs deserve,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told NBC News.

    Some Democrats who oppose the war said it's unconscionable to spend so much money on Iraq while cutting domestic programs such as farm subsidies and veterans benefits. “How can we cut veterans benefits at the same time we're sending young men and women over there in harm’s way?” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., said in an interview with NBC News.

    Blue Dogs sound off
    The Blue Dog Coalition, a group of 35 moderate and conservative Democrats known as fiscal and defense hawks, is criticizing the administration for using the supplemental budget request to ask Congress for more money to finance the war. Supplemental budget requests often don’t receive as much scrutiny and often don’t include the same amount of detail as regular budget requests.

    “The Blue Dog Coalition recognizes that we must support our troops, but the Congress cannot continue to write blank checks,” the group said in a statement.

    Congress approved $25 billion for the wars last summer. Using figures compiled by the Congressional Research Service, which prepares reports for lawmakers, the new request would push the totals provided for the conflicts and worldwide efforts against terrorism past $300 billion. That includes $25 billion already provided for rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan.
    NBC News' Chip Reid in Washington and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  2. #2
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    Number one... I thought the "War" in Iraq was over. Number two, at what point do the Iraqis start picking up the tab?
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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