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Bush Ups His Ante

August 29, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

In preparation of the showdown that will follow the September 11th update on the surge strategy in Iraq, the President is raising his request for additional war funding to a total $197 billion.

>President Bush plans to ask Congress next month for up to $50 billion in additional funding for the war in Iraq, a White House official said yesterday, a move that appears to reflect increasing administration confidence that it can fend off congressional calls for a rapid drawdown of U.S. forces.
>The request — which would come on top of about $460 billion in the fiscal 2008 defense budget and $147 billion in a pending supplemental bill to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — is expected to be announced after congressional hearings scheduled for mid-September featuring the two top U.S. officials in Iraq. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker will assess the state of the war and the effect of the new strategy the U.S. military has pursued this year.
>The request is being prepared now in the belief that Congress will be unlikely to balk so soon after hearing the two officials argue that there are promising developments in Iraq but that they need more time to solidify the progress they have made, a congressional aide said.

The previous battle between Congress and the Administration over supplemental war funding ended in May when President Bush signed a House and Senate-approved bill that gave him all the money he requested without any provisions to limit or end the war. Try as they may, it doesn’t look likely that lawmakers who oppose the war will be able to attach any withdrawal timeline U.S. forces or troop readiness requirements to this bill either. Their most viable option is to refuse to deny President Bush his money by refusing to pass the bil.

The supplemental appropriations bill in question hasn’t been introduced to Congress yet. We’ll let you know as soon as it is. For now, you can follow blog reactions here.

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