Expect Democrats To Give Bush More Iraq Money


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Early next year, as previously reported here, president Bush will go to Congress for some $100 billion to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This money, being outside the budget, goes straight to the national debt.

If you are hoping that the newly democratic congress, elected on the slogan "a new direction for Iraq," will deny the request, think again:

Senior Democrats, who take control of both houses of Congress next year, have indicated they would support additional funds for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though many want a phased Iraq withdrawal to begin in 2007.

If the extra $100 billion is approved, it would bring the total Pentagon budget for 2007 to $547 billion dollars. That figure is likely to be very close to what the entire rest of the world will spend during the same period.

A congressional report on Bush Administration budgeting practices paints a picture as to why such appropriations continue to arise and why they are so readily approved:

"The administration often does not submit supplemental requests until well after the Army needs the funding to pay for ongoing operations," the report stated. "As a result, the Army is forced to delay certain activities, such as maintenance of equipment, until supplemental appropriations are approved."

In its defense, the Administration claims it is "too difficult" to forecast such expenses in time to include them in their annual budget request.

For those keeping score at home, if 75% of this additional funds goes toward Iraq, it will bring the off-budget total to nearly $400 billion. If you assume that Iraq has consumed just 1/8th of the regular pentagon budget (apportioned by the percentage of troops involved in it), then another $250 billion from the regular budget has been spent on Iraq bringing to total so far to $650 billion by then end of 2007. That represents over $2,000 for every man, woman, and child in the U.S.

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