Last April, shortly after beginning his first term as president, Barak Obama promised that the war supplemental he requested from Congress would be the last one ever:
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday that this will be the last supplemental spending request for the wars. The administration has already earmarked $130 billion for military operations next year, but officials have said they do not want that funding tagged “emergency.”
“The honest budgeting and appropriations process that the president has talked about falls somewhat victim to the fact that this is the way that wars have been funded previously,” Gibbs said. “So we can’t wait until the appropriations process is done in … August or September to fund operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in June.”
And suddenly a lot of the members of Congress who had opposed war supplementals in the past and promised not to vote for another one, decided “just this one last time” to go along.
Well guess what, even though “the … Congress has approved [$128.3 billion] for war-related expenses in fiscal 2010,” there’s a new war supplemental being prepared. This time it’s for $33 billion and while originally proposed for passage around Memorial Day, Sec Def Gates is now pushing to move up approval of the latest blank check.
At the same time “congressional defense committees will continue to be enmeshed in hearings on the Pentagon’s request for a $548.9 billion base budget and $159.3 billion in war funding for FY ’11, which begins Oct. 1.”
The drumbeat for the added funds moved into high gear with the president’s surprise visit to Kabul this morning. Expect a lot more – from reports of “success” from the hyped up battle for Marjah to an upcoming big fight for Kandahar. With so much cash on the line, the sales pitch is sure to be quite loud – and irresistable to a congress who once again will break their promises to stop these off budget supplementals.