From the Los Angeles Times:
Setting up another confrontation with congressional Democrats over the war in Iraq, President Bush on Monday sent Congress a $45.9-billion emergency funding request for expenses related to U.S. military campaigns around the world.
The request, which comes on top of $147.5 billion sought by the administration earlier this year, pushes the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to more than $600 billion.
It also appears certain to further inflame tensions between the president and his Democratic critics on Capitol Hill, who are locked in a rancorous debate over federal spending bills as well as the war.
“Demanding nearly $200 billion for Iraq while vetoing healthcare for 10 million children exemplifies the Bush administration’s misplaced priorities,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said Monday, comparing the budget requests with the president’s objection to spending $30 billion to expand a popular health-insurance program for children.
Senior Democrats, who increasingly have worked to highlight what is being sacrificed to pay for the war, have indicated that they will not cut off money needed to sustain troops in the field.
Rep. David R. Obey (D-Wis.), House Appropriations Committee chairman and a fierce opponent of the war, has not indicated how he would separate money vital to the troops from other administration requests.
But Obey, whose panel drafts funding bills, has pledged not to move the emergency spending bill out of committee unless Bush agrees to change policy in Iraq.
And last week, 89 House members — more than a fifth of the chamber — sent Bush a letter outlining their determination to approve additional funding only for redeploying U.S. forces.
“Congress should not approve another dime for him to run out the clock on his failed policy,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), who organized the letter.
Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, said Democrats have no plans to vote on the war funding until after Christmas, despite the president’s demand that “Congress should not go home for the holidays while our troops are still waiting for the funds they need.”
The president “wants us to come up with another $200 billion and just sign off on it?” asked Reid, a Nevada Democrat. “We’re not going to do that.”
“President Bush wants us to rubber-stamp another $200 billion in war funds – all borrowed money, none of it paid for – for next year alone,” Reid said. “But when we sent a bipartisan bill to his desk to provide health insurance for the children of working families, the president called it too expensive … It’s no wonder the American people are frustrated.”