Dems: $87 billion not enough!! Spend more! Steal more!

LouPaulsen LouPaulsen at comcast.net
Tue Sep 30 07:48:36 MDT 2003


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A19346-2003Sep29.html

Congress Likely to Add to War Request
Lawmakers' Priorities Probably Will Push Bush Proposal Beyond $87 Billion
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 By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer

Even as new questions surface about items in President Bush's war spending
request, lawmakers say the measure's $87 billion price tag appears more
likely to expand than shrink this week when lawmakers draft legislation to
fund the war and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan.  [...]

If Democrats demand some spending on their priorities as the price for their
support, "they'll do it in a heartbeat," Daniel J. Mitchell, an economist at
the conservative Heritage Foundation, said of the White House and GOP
leadership.

Those demands are lining up. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) will try to add $300
million on top of the president's $177 million request for additional
heavily armored Humvees and $409 million to enlarge the Army by 10,000
troops. Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) is likely to seek
$467 million to extend the Pentagon's health insurance program to activated
National Guardsmen, reservists and their families.

In the House, lawmakers hope to add money for bulletproof blankets that
could protect Humvees in Iraq and for jamming equipment to block signals to
the remote-controlled bombs that have bedeviled U.S. patrols.

Democrats also want to see significantly more money added to Bush's $2.8
billion request for the repair and rehabilitation of military equipment
badly worn down by extended combat in Iraq's desert terrain. Scott Lilly,
Democratic staff director of the House Appropriations Committee, said
committee Democrats also would like to see more money to train new bomb
squads. "We've got artillery people over there disarming bombs that don't
have a bit of training," he said.
[...]

The most contentious efforts to change the Bush request are likely to fail,
but Democrats hope to score some political points in defeat. Taking up a
cause championed by conservative Republicans, Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.)
will offer an amendment requiring that Iraqi reconstruction be financed
through international lending, backed by Iraqi oil pledges.

The idea, first proposed by conservative Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), is hotly
opposed by the White House, and by the GOP leadership. "I think it's a
terrible idea," said Mitch McConnell (Ky.), the Senate's second-ranking
Republican. "It only confirms all the things the terrorists are saying, that
we went in there to steal their oil."  [...]



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