Senate tags resolution to DOD bill before passing it

2007 DOD Appropriations Bill Conference Report

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The Senate attached a continuing resolution to the 2007 Defense Appropriations bill it passed today, ensuring that all federal departments and agencies will have funds to continue operating in the next fiscal year.

The DOD bill has already been approved by the House, and the president is expected to sign it before the 2006 fiscal year ends Sept. 30. Congress will adjourn until after the November elections. A spokesman for Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) said the resolution runs until Nov. 17.

Congress, which adjourns today, has passed only one of 12 appropriations bills it is supposed to pass before the end of the fiscal year. The resolution ensures departments and agencies besides DOD will be funded over the next six weeks at the same rate as contained in the 2006 appropriations bills.

The DOD bill provides $436.6 billion for DOD in 2007 – the largest Defense budget since the Reagan administration – and $70 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said the 2007 DOD spending bill boosts the Defense budget to levels not seen in decades and also contains more than 2,000 earmarks for pork projects, which he estimated total $8 billion.

Speaking on the Senate floor Sept. 28, Coburn said those earmarks “don't have anything to do with the mission of [DOD], and they have everything to do with us failing to do the things we should do in terms of prioritizing and making the hard decisions in this country. “

Coburn added he will push next year to get “the earmarks published, out in the open and into the sunlight, so the American people can see what we are directing, to whom we are directing it and who is doing the directing. I will be back on every bill until we come clean with the American people on the political games we are playing with earmarks.”

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