If President Obama was looking for Congress to rubber-stamp his request for additional “emergency” funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan this year, he was sorely disappointed. He asked for the money last February but a wary Congress didn’t approve the funding until just last week, and only after considerable debate over the war effort and U.S. spending priorities.
Rep. Jay Inslee, a Democrat from Washington state, offered a striking example of the trade-offs that are involved in heavy spending abroad at a time when communities around the country are struggling financially: A police department in his district could lose as many as 23 jobs.
“We can’t pay for them – our first line of security in our neighborhood – but today we would be voting for something on the order of several years of about $4 billion to train police officers in Kabul,” Inslee said. Another notable dissent came from House Appropriations Chairman David Obey of Wisconsin, who expressed concern about the high cost of the war and doubts about the Afghan government.
The legislation provides for $59 billion in additional spending this year, with $33.5 billion going to the Department of Defense and the rest...