A year after President Obama pledged to end the practice of funding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with "emergency" spending bills, the Senate is taking up a $60 billion request that would do exactly that.
The spending bill, which includes $33 billion for the two wars in addition to disaster relief funds and aid for Haiti, is running headlong into concern from war-weary Democrats and deficit-conscious Republicans.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the bill a "heavy lift" in her chamber. But the Senate, which is taking up the request first, could be the scene of a spending stand-off between Democrats and Republicans.
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., plans to offer an amendment requiring Congress to offset the cost of the package with spending cuts elsewhere. He slammed the administration for continuing to use the "emergency" supplemental to fund the wars -- by designating the spending bill as "emergency," Congress avoids having to find a way to pay for it.
"The last day war funding was unforeseen was September 10, 2001," the first-term senator said in a written statement. "This legislation is designed to bail out career politicians who want to avoid the hard work of prioritizing spending."
The Bush administration routinely used supplemental spending bills to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama criticized the practice as a candidate and when he came into office pledged to keep war funding within the traditional budget request.
"For seven years, we have been a nation at war. No longer will we hide its price," he said in his February 2009 address to a joint session of Congress.
When Obama requested $83 billion in additional funding last spring for the wars, he said he would draw the line there. ...
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Comment: If the states were represented in Congress as the founders intended, do you think they would rubber stamp this black hole; rubber stamp out of control spending with no end in sight?