The Beltway Bandit

An online journal of politics, culture, and sports

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

WHERE'S THE PRICE TAG? -- Republicans and Democrats alike are beginning to ask the Bush administration: "Where is the price tag on Iraq?" As usual, the answer can be found in more political dishonesty from a White House which seems almost incapable of telling the straight truth any time about anything.
Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, charged that the president is playing political games by postponing further funding requests until after the election, to try to avoid reopening debate on the war's cost and future.

Weldon described the administration's current defense budget request as "outrageous" and "immoral" and said that at least $10 billion is needed for Iraqi operations over the next five months.

"There needs to be a supplemental, whether it's a presidential election year or not," he said. "The support of our troops has to be the number one priority of this country. . . . Somebody's got to get serious about this."
Okay, that's a start, but what about the Senate? Well, here is a partial transcript of an interview this morning on NBC's Today show with Senator Chuck Hagel [R-NE] and Senator Joe Biden [D-DE].
MR. LAUER: Let me ask you about the price tag in Iraq. The funds are being used at a faster rate than expected. Republican Representative Curt Weldon, vice chairman of the Armed Services Committee, says that he thinks there is a very big bill about to be handed to the American people, some $10 billion needed right now.

SEN. BIDEN: Absolutely.

MR. LAUER: Senator Biden, I'll go to you on this -- but that he thinks the administration is delaying asking for that money because it's an election year and it wouldn't look good. Do you agree with that?

SEN. BIDEN: Absolutely. But, look, in this year's budget we're voting on for 2005 -- that's how we do it, a year ahead -- they haven't asked for one single penny for next year for Afghanistan and Iraq. Give me a break. Give me a break. Why aren't they asking for it? They don't know? We already know it's going to cost at least a minimum of $60 billion to keep the troops there.

MR. LAUER: Senator Hagel, is this election-year politics?

SEN. HAGEL: Oh, I fear it is, Matt. And the administration would be well-served here to come forward now, be honest about this, because the continuity and the confidence in this policy is going to be required to sustain it. And that means be honest with the Congress, be honest with the American people.

Every ground squirrel in this country knows that it's going to be $50 billion to $75 billion in additional money required to sustain us in Iraq for this year.

MR. LAUER: So your message to the administration, step up to the plate right now and ask for the money.

SEN. BIDEN: And that's not for reconstruction.

SEN. HAGEL: Absolutely.

MR. LAUER: Go ahead, Senator Biden.

SEN. BIDEN: And that's not for reconstruction, Matt. That's just for our troops. That's not for building anything. That's not for roads, dams. That's not for anything. That's just for our troops.
Okay, so we could be looking at $75 billion, very soon, just to pay for our troops in Iraq. The price tage will be at least $50 billion, a fact that, according to Senator Hagel, is known by "every ground squirrel in this country." And yet not a word from the White House. Not a number. Nothing. The bill, as you might expect, will come from the White House only after the election.

Do they have no shame?

Tuesday, April 20, 2004


Dan Wasserman


Credit the Seattle Times

Monday, April 19, 2004

LOVESICK IN THE HEAD -- There's GOT to be a better solution than this.


Center for American Progress

NEW YORKERS KNOW HILLARY -- and they like her.

IS THIS THE END... -- ...for B.D.?