"Fifty-three days after President Bush submitted his Iraq war emergency
supplemental funding proposal, Democrats in Congress have not yet sent
the President a bill he can sign. General Pace has made clear that
there will be real consequences if we do not fund the troops by
mid-April, and it is troubling that House Democrats have not even
appointed conferees to resolve the differences between versions passed
by the House and Senate. Instead of playing politics, Democrats should
fund the troops with a bill that does not force retreat, handcuff our
commanders, or contain billions of dollars in pork spending."
- White House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino, 3/30/07
Democrats' Claim: The President "took too long to send his financing request to Congress." (Carl Hulse and Jeff Zeleny, "Defying Bush, Senate Passes Iraq Spending Measure," The New York Times, 3/30/07)
The President Submitted His Request 53 Days Ago
On February 5th (53 days ago), the President sent his urgent request for funds to support the troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our troops are in harm's way and engaged with the enemy, and they need the funds. (Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Appendix, p. 1143)
OMB Director Rob Portman announces the supplemental's submission on February 5th: "We've also included these war costs as war supplementals as part of the budget this year, in a more transparent, timely and comprehensive way than ever before. … We heard loud and clear from Congress that they were seeking more transparency and more and better information sooner, so they could conduct appropriate oversight.And so we've tried to be responsive to that concern." (OMB Director Rob Portman, Press Briefing On The Budget, Washington, DC, 2/5/07)
Democrats' Delay Of Funding Is Already Impacting Troops and Readiness
Yesterday, the Department of Defense notified Congress that in order to meet the force protection needs of the Marine Corps and the Army, we are borrowing funds from other important Marine and Army procurement programs. This borrowing means taking funding intended for medium tactical vehicle replacement, Humvees and Humvee equipment, the tactical communications modernization program, and upgrades to other vehicles. This reprogramming of funds will then accelerate delivery of nearly 300 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles that were included in the President's supplemental request and are needed by our troops on the ground.
This reprogramming of funds is only necessary because Congress has failed to act in a timely manner on the President's emergency funding request. This underscores the need to get the bill to the President so he can veto it, and Congress can then send a bill that accomplishes what the troops and military commanders need.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen.Peter Pace: After mid-April, "the Army has told us that they will have to begin curtailing some training here at home for Guard, Reserve, and for units, which means that the baseline for those units will be reduced as far as their capability, and when they're called, it will take them longer to be ready and could, over time, delay their availability to go back into combat." (Committee On Appropriations, Defense Subcommittee, U.S. House Of Representatives, Hearing, 3/29/07)
Defense Secretary Robert Gates: "This kind of disruption to key programs will have a genuinely adverse effect on the readiness of the Army and the quality of life for soldiers and their families. I urge the Congress to pass the supplemental as quickly as possible." (Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Press Briefing, Arlington, VA, 3/22/07)
Democrats Are Pandering To Their Extreme Base At The Expense Of Funding For Our Troops
The Secretary of Defense has warned that if Congress does not approve the emergency funding for our troops, our troops will begin to face significant disruptions, and so will their families. Congress needs to pass a bill that will provide our troops the emergency resources they need.
Continued political theater only delays vital resources for our troops. The President has made it clear for weeks that he will veto these bills, yet Congress continues to pursue them while the clock ticks for our troops.