Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Senate passes Iraq funding with no strings

A victory for Bush:

The Senate voted Tuesday to provide $70 billion for U.S. military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, handing a victory to President Bush and his GOP allies on Capitol Hill.

The 70-25 roll call paved the way for the Senate to pass a $555 billion omnibus appropriations bill combining the war funding with the budgets for 14 Cabinet agencies.

Bush was ready to sign the bill, assuming the war funding clears the House on Wednesday. Democrats again failed to win votes to force removal of U.S. troops or set a nonbinding target to remove most troops by the end of next year.

``Even those of us who have disagreed on this war have always agreed on one thing: Troops in the field will not be left without the resources they need,'' said Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

The year-end budget deal between the Democratic-controlled Congress and Bush ended months of battling and disappointed GOP purists who complained the bill spends too much money and contains about 9,000 pet projects sought by members of Congress.


Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington-based watchdog group that opposes so-called pork barrel projects, counted 8,983 such ``earmarks'' worth $7.4 billion. These hometown pet projects include economic development grants, aid to local transit and police departments and clean water projects, among many others.