Calling for Better Accounting on Iraq
The NYTimes reports today that the incoming House and Senate budget committee chairmen "said they would demand a better accounting of the war’s cost and move toward integrating the spending into the regular federal budget, a signal of their intention to use the Congressional power of the purse more assertively to influence the White House’s management of the war."
It's about time! The Administration has gotten away with "emergency supplementals" and other obfuscatory budgetary tactics for far too long. The costs of the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan ought to be tallied up within the regular budget process. Yes, obviously there may be a real emergency which could require additional funding after the budget is passed, but the Administration's total unwillingness to work within accepted frameworks should have been stopped years ago.
Democrats will use a little-noticed provision in the defense authorization bill that requires the president to include Iraq/Afghanistan numbers in the regular budget plan. This amendment, sponsored by Senator McCain, was passed by the Senate 98-0 back in June.
Senator Kent Conrad, who will chair the Budget Committee in that chamber, told the Times "We are now going on four years into this war and they are still funding it with these patchwork supplementals without oversight and without accountability, and that just has to stop." Indeed.
Fair, honest accounting is something that I hope all of us - liberals, conservatives, centrists, war supporters and opponents, &c. &c. - can agree on. There is absolutely no reason to allow this Administration to continue increasing the budget deficit without being held accountable for it.