Congress adjourns without providing Iraq 'bridge fund'

Congress adjourned Friday for Thanksgiving without approving a $50 billion bridge fund to continue military operations in Iraq, leaving the Pentagon to cover the war costs out of its base budget.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., indicated no money would be forthcoming this year after the chamber failed to invoke cloture on the bill, which would tie the money to a withdrawal timeline and other conditions. The House passed the bill Wednesday 218-203. Senate Democrats today failed to win the necessary 60 votes to end debate on the bill on a 53-45 vote. The "clean" Republican alternative, which would have boosted the bridge fund to $70 billion, failed 45-53.

War funding without strings is a top priority for congressional Republicans and could end up being a bargaining chip for their support for a Democratic plan to split the $22 billion difference on domestic spending with President Bush. A bridge fund "clearly must be done before we adjourn sine die for the session, "Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said.

Transportation-HUD Appropriations ranking member Christopher (Kit) Bond, R-Mo., who supported Democratic-backed spending bills, said he might be willing to support a compromise if it included additional war funding.

"We hope we can get a responsible package, but most of all, the most important thing is we need to provide emergency funding to our troops without telling the commanders how to run the war," Bond said.

Reid called "somewhat laughable" GOP hints that war funding would have to be included in an omnibus appropriations package next month.

"The president just got $470 billion [in the Defense appropriations bill], that's good if we do nothing else until February or the middle of March. We offered him some more money, he refused that, so if they want to follow the president over the cliff, then they're welcome to do that," Reid said. "We are not going to shut the government down. We're going to continue to work. We're not going to have a Gingrich-type Congress."

Democrats are proposing to cut $10.6 billion from their initial proposed spending bills. Even with the cuts, security-related spending Bush requested would rise 11 percent above the current year, while non-security domestic spending Democrats want would grow about 3 percent. Under the new allocations, Democrats would increase spending across most government agencies by $10.9 billion above last year; by contrast, the Defense bill Bush signed this week increases non-emergency funding by $39.7 billion from last year.

The bridge fund was to be a down payment on Bush's request for an additional $196.4 billion in emergency war-related and diplomatic spending. White House Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto today pressed lawmakers to approve the $6.9 billion portion devoted to international aid, especially $723.6 million requested to support peacekeeping in Darfur. Under the new spending plan, Democrats would allocate $33.4 billion to the regular foreign aid budget -- about $855 million less than the House- and Senate-passed bills. A congressional aide said the Darfur funding could be added to the omnibus as an emergency requirement.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.