Senate Democrats

More of President Bush’s Misplaced Priorities

Today, President Bush asked Congress for an additional $46 billion for Iraq, Afghanistan and other national security programs, bringing his supplemental spending request to $196 billion for fiscal year 2008. But his request comes on the heels of his veto of a bipartisan compromise children’s health care bill, perfectly illustrating the President’s misplaced priorities; opposing much-needed domestic investments for our country while continuing to spend on an intractable Iraq  civil war . When the President says, “Our men and women on the front lines should not be caught in the middle of partisan disagreements in Washington, D.C.,” he should remember that neither should America’s children.

President Bush wants to spend even more on Iraq civil war:

Bush Administration Asking for Additional $42 Billion for Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Other National Security Needs – Total Cost of Supplemental Spending Request Will Top $196 Billion. “President Bush will ask Congress for another $46 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and finance other national security needs, The Associated Press has learned. The figure, which Bush was expected to announce later Monday at the White House, brings to $196.4 billion the total requested by the administration for operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere for the budget year that started Oct. 1. It includes $189.3 billion for the Defense Department, $6.9 billion for the State Department and $200 million for other agencies… The latest request includes $42.3 billion more for the Pentagon _ already revealed in summary last month _ and is accompanied by a modified State Department request bringing that agency’s total for the 2008 budget year to almost $7 billion.” [Associated Press, 10/22/07]

Additional Spending Request Would Likely Bring Total Iraq War Spending Above $600 Billion, Nearing Cost of Vietnam War. “The new spending request is likely to push the cumulative cost of the war in Iraq alone through 2008 past the $600-billion mark — more than the Korean War and nearly as much as the Vietnam War, based on estimates by government budget officials.” [Los Angeles Times, 9/22/07]

CBO Estimates Show Iraq War Could Cost $2.5 Trillion, If U.S. Maintains Korea-Like Presence For the Long Term. “In other words, taken together, CBO’s reports show that the long-term presence in Iraq envisioned by the Bush administration could cost $2 trillion over the next 50 years. And this cost comes on top of the approximately $567 billion already appropriated and requested for Iraq through 2008.” [Sen. Kent Conrad Press Release, 9/20/07]

Current Cost of War in Iraq Is Approximately $10 Billion Per Month. “For the first half of FY2007, CRS estimates that DOD’s average monthly obligations for contracts and pay are running about $12 billion per month, well above the estimated $8.7 billion in FY2006. For FY2007, obligations are about $10 billion in Iraq, $1.9 billion in Afghanistan, and less than $100 million for enhanced security.” [CRS Report, 7/16/07]

  • That Amounts to…

$322,580,645 Per Day
$13,440,860 Per Hour
$224,014 Per Minute
$3,733 Per Second

… meawhile, President Bush opposes investing in domestis priorities:

President Bush Vetoed Bipartisan Compromise Children’s Health Insurance Bill. “President Bush vetoed the children’s health insurance bill today, as he had promised to do, setting the stage for more negotiations between the White House and Congress and sparking unusual dismay from some prominent Republicans.” [New York Times, 10/3/07]

  • 81 Percent of Americans Support Bipartisan Compromise Children’s Health Insurance Bill. According to a poll from CBS News, 81 percent of Americans support the bipartisan compromise Children’s Health Insurance Program bill which would cover 3.8 million more low-income children. [CBS News, 10/17/07]

President Bush Has Threatened to Veto Spending Bills Above His Overall Budget Request. President Bush has said he will veto spending bills that exceed his overall request. The difference between Democrats’ spending bills and the president’s budget request is relatively small, $22 billion more than his $933-billion proposal, an increase of about 2 percent. The $22 billion represents less than 1 percent of the entire federal budget and Democrats contend the number pales in comparison with the amount being spent in Iraq, approximately $10 billion a month and more than $450 billion since 2003. [Los Angeles Times, 9/25/07; New York Times, 9/24/07]

  • Difference Amounts to What We Spend in Iraq in 2 Months. According to a recent report from the Congressional Research Service, the U.S. is spending approximately $10 billion per month for the war in Iraq. The $22 billion difference amounts to a little over two months spending in Iraq. [CRS Report, 7/16/07]
  • President Bush Signed Legislation that Exceeded His Request. Just since 2003, President Bush has signed supplemental appropriations bills that exceeded his requests by more than $11 billion (with the extra spending totaling $4.4 billion in FY03, $3.7 billion in FY04, $3.2 billion in FY05, and $48 million in FY06).  [Congressional Budget Office] 

Senate Passed Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Bill with a Broad Bipartisan Majority; President Bush Threatened to Veto the Bill. The Senate passed the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill on a vote of 75-19, but the President has threatened to veto the bill. The measure includes restored funding for state and local law enforcement at nearly $2.7 billion and provides the FBI $6.6 billion, which is $147 million above the President’s budget request. [CQ Senate Report 110-124 – To accompany S. 1745, June 29, 2007; Senate Vote #372, HR 3093, 10/16/07; Statement of Administration Policy, 10/4/07]

Senate Passed the Transportation-HUD Appropriations Bill with a Broad Bipartisan Majority; President Bush Threatened to Veto the Bill. The Senate passed the Transportation-HUD Appropriations bill on a vote of 88-7, but the President has threatened to veto the bill. The measure called for providing an additional $1 billion for the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation program. The increase in funding represents a 25 percent increase in total bridge funding and still falls within the constraints of the budget resolution. [Senate Vote #336, HR 3074, 9/12/07; Statement of Administration Policy, 9/11/07; Amdt.2792 to HR 3047]

Senate Passed the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill with a Broad Bipartisan Majority; President Bush Threatened to Veto the Bill. The Senate passed the Homeland Security Appropriations bill on a vote of 89-4, but the President has threatened to veto the bill. The measure passed by the Senate is $5 billion more than President Bush’s request, and includes: funding to strengthen our borders; ensure first responders have the tools they need to do their jobs; and enhanced security at the nation’s airports, sea ports and mass transit facilities. [Senate Vote #282, HR 2638, 7/26/07; Statement of Administration Policy, 7/25/07]

… and our job in Afghanista remains unfinished:

U.S. Has Already Spent $450 Billion in 4 and a Half Years in Iraq. According to the Congressional Research Service, of the $610 billion appropriated for war costs between September 11, 2001 and the May 25, 2007 supplemental spending bill, $450 billion was for Iraq. The Iraq War began March 20, 2003. [Congressional Research Service, 7/16/07; CNN, 3/20/03]

…Meanwhile, U.S. Has Spent Just $127 Billion in 6 Years in Afghanistan. Since the beginning of the War in Afghanistan, the U.S. has spent $127 billion was spent on Afghanistan. The War in Afghanistan began October 7, 2001. [Congressional Research Service, 7/16/07; CNN, 10/7/01]

  • Violence in Afghanistan Has Increased 30 Percent Since Last Year. “Reporting to the U.N. Security Council, special representative for Afghanistan Tom Koenigs said while there was a dip in violence in the last two months, the number of violent incidents was still up 30 percent from last year. ‘The sad result is a significant increase in the numbers of civilian casualties — at least 1,200 have been killed since January this year,’ Koenigs said, noting the United Nations had recorded 606 roadside bombs and 133 suicide attacks, up from 88 suicide bombs by the same time last year.” [Reuters, 10/15/07]
  • Taliban and Al-Qaeda Fighters Have Increasingly Crossed Into Afghanistan from Sanctuaries in Pakistan in Recent Months. “Beyond these wooded hills and ravines are the Pakistani sanctuaries for the Taliban and al Qaeda who’ve in recent months crossed, mostly at night, in growing numbers.” [Wall Street Journal, 10/15/07]
  • NIE: Al-Qaeda Has Regenerated Key Elements of its Homeland Attack Capability. “Al-Qa’ida is and will remain the most serious terrorist threat to the Homeland, as its central leadership continues to plan high-impact plots, while pushing others in extremist Sunni communities to mimic its efforts and to supplement its capabilities. We assess the group has protected or regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability, including: a safehaven in the Pakistan Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), operational lieutenants, and its top leadership… As a result, we judge that the United States currently is in a heightened threat environment.” [National Intelligence Estimate, 7/17/07]
  • Global Terrorist Incidents Have Increased Dramatically Since 2001. “Between January 2001 and September 2001 there were 1,188 terrorist incidents around the world, including the three separate 9/11 events which have become infamous in the memory of Americans. Attacks within Israel alone accounted for 238 terrorist incidents, with Iraq and Afghanistan contributing four. Counting only those incidents attributed to Islamist extremist groups, there were 61 incidents globally with 40 occurring outside of Israel, Iraq and Afghanistan. The comparison with the same time period in 2006 is stark. Worldwide, there were 5,188 terrorist incidents, 1,437 excluding Israel, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Of those remaining incidents, 490 were attributed to Islamist terrorism, of which 92 were extraneous to the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel.” [American Security Project, “Are We Winning?,” September 2007]
  • Osama Bin Laden Is Still At-Large After 2232 Days on the Run Since September 11, 2001.

Iraq War has stretchhed our armed forces thin, making U.S. less safe:

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Called American Ground Forces “Breakable” – Was Concerned That Continuing Counterinsurgency Operations Limit U.S. Ability to Confront Other Threats. “The new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff plans to press Congress and the public to sustain the current high levels of military spending — even after the Iraq war — arguing for money to repair and replace worn-out weapons and to restore American ground forces he described as ‘breakable,’ though not yet broken. The new chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, expressed deep concerns that the long counterinsurgency missions in Iraq and Afghanistan have so consumed the military that the Army and Marine Corps may be unprepared for a high-intensity war against a major adversary… One of the few Vietnam War veterans remaining in the most senior officer corps, Admiral Mullen expressed worries that the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan had undermined the military’s ability to fight big wars — and distracted the armed forces from preparing to face other threats.” [New York Times, 10/22/07]

  • Leaders Within the Pentagon and Joint Chiefs of Staff Support Quicker Redeployments from Iraq in Order to Better Respond to Other Threats. “Crocker and Petraeus are in broad agreement over the campaign plan changes, summarized in a 20-slide presentation that they approved in a meeting last Wednesday. However, officials identified frictions over elements of the plan — in particular, the pace and scope of future troop withdrawals — between Petraeus, whose priority is stabilizing Iraq, and senior leaders at the Pentagon, Joint Chiefs of Staff and regional commands concerned about the risks of conflicts elsewhere.” [Washington Post, 10/22/07]

Army Suffering Shortage of Young Officers Due to Extended Deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan – Forced to Offer Huge Bonuses to Try to Retain Them. “The Army is offering cash bonuses of up to $35,000 to retain young officers serving in key specialties — including military intelligence, infantry and aviation — in an unprecedented bid to forestall a critical shortage of officer ranks that have been hit hard by frequent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Army officials said that lengthy and repeated war-zone tours — the top reason younger officers leave the service — plus the need for thousands of new officers as the Army moves forward with expansion plans have contributed to a projected shortfall of about 3,000 captains and majors for every year through 2013.” [Washington Post, 10/11/07]

  • General Casey Fears Lack of Trained Forces for Missions Outside of Iraq.  “‘The demand for our forces exceeds the sustainable supply,’ the Army chief of staff, Gen. George Casey, said last week. ‘Right now we have in place deployment and mobilization policies that allow us to meet the current demands. If the demands don’t go down over time, it will become increasingly difficult for us to provide the trained and ready forces’ for other missions.”  [Associated Press, 8/20/07]

General Casey Said Six Years of War Has Strained Our Forces And Demand for Forces Exceeds Supply. “As the chairman said, our nation has been at war for our six years. Our Army has been a leader on the front lines of this war and back here at home, and over time these operations have expanded in scope and duration. And as a result our all-volunteer force has been stretched and stressed… So, Mr. Chairman, as we look to that future, we do so with an Army that’s already stretched by the impacts of six years of war. And while we remain a resilient, committed, professional force, today’s Army, as Congressman Hunter said, is out of balance. The current demand for our forces exceeds the sustainable supply. We are consumed with meeting the demands of the current fight and unable to provide ready forces as rapidly as necessary for other contingencies. Our reserve components are performing an operational role for which they were neither originally designed, nor resourced. [House Armed Services Committee Hearing, 9/27/07]

  • General Colin Powell Agreed With General Shoomaker That the Army Is Broken. “I’m suggesting that what General Schoomaker said the other day, before a committee looking at the Reserve and National Guard, that the active Army is about broken. General Schoomaker is absolutely right, and all of my contacts within the Army suggest that the Army has a serious problem in the active force, and it’s a problem that will spread into the Guard and Reserves: Backlog of equipment that is not being repaired, soldiers–especially officers and noncommissioned officers–going on repetitive tours.” [CBS News’ Face the Nation, 12/17/06]