About a month after signing a defense appropriations bill containing $70 billion extra-budgetary "bridge fund" to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Bush may request yet more funding for the conflicts. The next request could be an eye-popping $130 billion.
Complicating the outlook for Democrats' own agenda would be the arrival of Bush's next supplemental spending request for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, others said. The next war supplemental is expected to be more than $130 billion, an aide to outgoing Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said. That supplemental request, which also would fall to the appropriations committees to tackle, would exceed all of Bush's previous requests for war spending.
This would be, by a long shot, the largest supplemental request for the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, and be the third such request in six months. In fact, this request would not only be the single-largest supplemental, but cost more than any single fiscal year’s war spending. It should raise a few eyebrows and bring Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates to the witness table in January to answer a few questions, like How long will these funds last?. What exactly are we paying for that costs an order of magnitude greater than previous requests?, and Why, after three years is war spending still considered "emergency"?
This is not, however, totally unexpected. A few weeks ago we noted that the Defense Department might be seeking additional war funding. And while this week's reported figure is $30 billion less, it's still massive and is completely out-of-line in terms budget process.
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