Obey Details $94 Billion War Supplemental

Posted May 4, 2009 at 3:24pm

House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) detailed a $94 billion emergency spending bill Monday — $9 billion more than President Barack Obama has requested — without a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq or binding restrictions on the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan.Obey also refused to provide $80 million for closing the detainee facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, saying the plans for doing so are not yet ready. Obey said that he wanted to give Obama a year to show what he can do on the war front, as President Richard Nixon was given a year to start getting out of Vietnam.“If I gave Richard Nixon a year to show what he could do, I don’t see why I wouldn’t give Barack Obama a year,— Obey said.But Obey said he has grave doubts about the possibility for success in stabilizing Afghanistan and Pakistan. He said he would require Obama to submit a report to Congress by the time he issues his fiscal 2011 budget outlining how the two nations’ governments are performing.Obey also showed open contempt for the just-adopted budget blueprint, which sliced Obama’s proposed appropriations request for 2010. Fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats had boasted that they had helped cut the overall spending number, but those gains are largely wiped out by the extra spending in the emergency supplemental.“With all due respect, flu bugs don’t take a look at the Budget Committee’s budget resolution, and neither do the Taliban,— Obey said.The $94.2 billion bill includes $78.4 billion for the Department of Defense, $4.7 billion above Obama’s request. The bill adds $2.2 billion for C-17 transport planes, $904 million for C-130s, $2.2 billion for mine-resistant vehicles and $734 million in payments to troops hit by stop-loss orders retroactive to 2001.The bill also accelerates funding that Obama requested for his regular budget for 2010, including aid to foreign governments such as Israel and Egypt — effectively clearing room for other spending later.Flu spending gets $2 billion, $550 million more than Obama sought, with $350 million going to state and local governments and $200 million for global efforts.Another $400 million would go to help in the drug war in Mexico.