Bush: "I Need About $50 Billion More…"
The request — which would come on top of about $460 billion in the fiscal 2008 defense budget and $147 billion in a pending supplemental bill to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — is expected to be announced after congressional hearings scheduled for mid-September featuring the two top U.S. officials in Iraq. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker will assess the state of the war and the effect of the new strategy the U.S. military has pursued this year. […]
Most of the additional funding in a revised supplemental bill would pay for the current counteroffensive in Iraq, which has expanded the U.S. force there by about 28,000 troops, to about 160,000. The cost of the buildup was not included in the proposed 2008 budget because Pentagon officials said they did not know how long the troop increase would last. The decision to seek about $50 billion more appears to reflect the view in the administration that the counteroffensive will last into the spring of 2008 and will not be shortened by Congress.
I think Bush is right that Congress won’t shorten our stay in Iraq. Or maybe it’s better to say that they simply can’t. There’s no way the Dems’ slim majority can break the Repubs, much less the President’s veto. The public may not be fond of Congress right now over Iraq, but gridlock is keeping us there.
So are we really talking about $50 billion?
Some consideration is being given to trimming the new request by a few billion dollars, the White House official said. But, he added, “this is pretty close to a done deal.” Almost all the spending is relatively noncontroversial, he added, with the vast majority of it necessary just to keep the U.S. military operating in Iraq. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to reporters, said that the supplemental requests are likely to be “rolled together” and considered as one package.
And that, as they say, is that. Sure, the Dems will make noise, but it’s impotent rage.
And so it goes…