Monday, October 22, 2007

Bush Tells Congress to Act Quickly on War Funding Request

Bush sends updated Iraq supplemental to Congress

The Hill reports:

President Bush on Monday submitted a $196.4 billion supplemental spending bill to Congress that would fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008.

Of the sum, $150.5 billion had been included in a previous request, while $45.9 billion is part of an amendment. The bulk of the total funds, nearly $190 billion, would go to the Department of Defense, while the State Department would get $6.9 billion.

“Parts of this war are complicated, but one part is not, and that is America should do what it takes to support our troops and protect our people,” Bush said.

“I know some in Congress are against the war, and are seeking ways to demonstrate that opposition,” he added. “I recognize their position, and they should make their views heard. But they ought to make sure our troops have what it takes to succeed.”

Bush argued that the troops should not be “caught in the middle of partisan disagreements in Washington, D.C.,” adding, “I often hear that war critics oppose my decisions, but still support the troops. Well, I’ll take them at their word — and this is the chance to show it, that they support the troops.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urged quick passage of the supplemental.

“We cannot turn our backs on our warriors now by cutting off funds when there is still work to be done and still troops to protect,” he said. “Congress overwhelmingly passed two resolutions this year rejecting any action that would undermine our troops in the field, and Congress must now fulfill its responsibilities and send the message to our troops that we support their mission.”

However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) indicated that Congress would give the funding bill a close look.

“President Bush wants us to rubber-stamp another $200 billion in war funds — all borrowed money, none of it paid for — for next year alone,” Reid said. “But when we sent a bipartisan SCHIP bill to his desk to provide health insurance for the children of working families, the president called it too expensive.” Reid referred to a bill expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which Bush vetoed. The House failed to override the veto last week.

Reid added that Congress would take time to hold the funding request “up to the light of day and fight for the change in strategy and redeployment of troops that is long overdue.”