Sentate Still Needs to Debate Bill
WASHINGTON – They did it. Today, Thursday, June 19th, late in the afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives handed Commander-in-Chief Bush another huge, huge check with which to fight his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Enough money – $182 Billion – was approved to allow the U.S. to wage both wars for another year. And guess what ? That’s right, there is no withdrawal timetable for our troops included. Of course, the Senate still needs to debate it within the next few work days, but since they are not the legislative body that passes budgets, there will probably be no change.
The $165.4 Billion measure was approved by the House in a 268-155 vote, with most of the money going to fund the Iraq occupation. The House was expected to reduce the total down to just below $162 Billion, which is seen as enough funds to cover the war costs up to the middle of next year, 2009. Pentagon heads had threatened to lay off personnel next month if they didn’t get this new money.
Over-all, since 2001, Congress has now authorized more than $800 Billion for the wars. Wow”! Think of that as you’re filling up your $5 gallon tank of gas. Think of that when you struggle to pay the mortgage, college loans or medical bills. Think of this blank check your Congress just handed over to the executive.
The bill does increase college education benefits for veterans of the two wars and their families (est. $63 billion over 11 years). The bill supposedly also prohibits the construction of permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq and requires the Iraqi government to match each dollar of American reconstruction aid. The Dems will claim they are the victors as they were able to “wrestle” out of the White House a doubling of GI Bill college benefits and a 13-week extension of unemployment payments for people whose benefits have run out. But, hey, George Bush is smiling today.
[Go here to the msnbc article.]