Earlier today, I was reading Brian Beutler’s article about Democrats and Republicans in Congress coming together to plan significant changes to Social Security (specifically, raising the retirement age to 70). That is a subject that is very near and dear to my heart (for obvious reasons), but I’ll have to reserve those thoughts for another post.
What I want to point out here is this reference — incidental to Brian’s main point — in the piece (emphasis is mine):
Last week, Democrats included a rider to the supplemental war spending bill that will likely force the House to vote on a forthcoming fiscal reform plan, if the Senate passes it first.
Supplemental war spending bill? Say WHAT? Didn’t Barack Obama pledge, during his campaign, to never use supplemental war spending bills to pay for ongoing wars? Didn’t he promise to make all spending for Iraq and/or Afghanistan part of the regular military budget? And then, when he broke that promise soon after he took office, didn’t he tell us that this was an exception — a total anomaly, a special case — which would never happen again?
Why, yes! Come to Google it, he did!
Obama has criticized the use of such emergency funding measures, called supplemental appropriations, to pay for the war. The president’s first budget, for 2010, will move more of the wars’ costs into the main Pentagon spending plan.
“This will be the last supplemental for Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman. “The process by which this has been funded . . . will change.”
Now, my Googling also turned up the additional information that Democrats have included spending for some pressing domestic needs (education, veterans, oil clean-up, border security, economic aid, and disaster relief, e.g.) in the supplemental, and maybe this makes it a positive move, on balance. But still… It would be nice to know why our wars (god, what a horrible phrase that is) are still being funded this way.