A huge chunk of the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been done outside of the regular congressional appropriations process through "supplemental" spending bills, which don't count on the budget and mask the actual impact the wars are having on the deficit.
This is something Obama vowed to change on the campaign trail. "As President, Obama will […] end the abuse of the supplemental budgets, where much of the money has been lost, by creating system of oversight for war funds as stringent as in the regular budget," a campaign document (.pdf) on defense spending stated.
But, last Thursday, the Administration was back in front of Congress asking for another supplemental for the Afghanistan surge, his second since becoming President.Read Full Article Comments (10)
The heads of the Pentagon and the Justice Department have urged House leaders to reject any legislation preventing the government from prosecuting alleged terrorists in civilian courts or military commissions. As I mentioned earlier, a bipartisan coalition of Republicans and conservative Democrats are pushing a House (H.R.4556) and Senate bill (S.2977) that would prevent government dollars from being spent on civilian trials for five alleged 9/11 co-conspirators including Khalid Sheikh Mohamme...Read Full Article Comments (4)
Despite being a slow day in Congress, it was a busy day on Capitol Hill. Here's a look at what you might have missed: Sen. John Kerry [D, MA] has joined Sen. Arlen Specter [D, PA] in calling for a constitutional amendment in response to the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision lifting limits on corporate cash in campaigns. (The Hill) A group of centrist Senate Democrats including Sen. Jim Webb [D, VA], Sen. Mary Landrieu [D, LA], Sen. Ben Nelson [D, NE] and Sen. Blanche Lincoln [D, AR] ...Read Full Article Submit a Comment
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint of Chiefs of Staff Chairman Michael Mullen are testifying right now before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the Pentagon's plan to roll back "don't ask, don't tell." According to Marc Ambinder, Gates will announce a series of steps building up to the eventual end of the policy. According to an administration official, the most visible of those steps will be to revise the rule that allows third parties -- other soldiers or outside accusers -...Read Full Article Comments (1)