Senate adds Iraq war funding to spending bill

The Senate added $70 billion for Iraq war funding to the $516 billion omnibus spending bill Dec. 18.

The House this afternoon passed the Senate's version of the omnibus bill and it now goes to President Bush to be signed into law.

Senators amended the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which funds all federal departments, except the Defense Department, in addition to the wars in Afghanistan and now Iraq, by a vote of 70 to 25.

The omnibus spending bill that the House passed Dec. 17 included $31 billion for military operations but limited those funds to operations only in Afghanistan.

The amendment is critical to the bill’s final passage in the Senate and then getting President Bush to sign it into law.

“Let me be crystal clear: If this amendment does not pass in its current form, the underlying bill does not become law,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who introduced the amendment.

Bush threatened to veto the bill if it didn’t include McConnell’s amendment.
Without passing the bill, the government’s temporary funding would expire Dec. 21, when the deadline for the current continuing resolution would pass.


The bill would require the Office of Management and Budget and other agencies to justify why they intend to participate in electronic government initiatives, how much they plan to spend and how the initiatives’ relevance to the agency.


The House and Senate appropriations committees want an initiative’s objectives, benefits, risks and where the initiative will save money. 


The agencies would have to provide information on e-government initiatives, including lines of business, in their fiscal 2009 budget justifications so that the appropriations committees may decide whether to approve the funding.


Lawmakers are concerned about the "‘pass the hat’ method of financing e-government initiatives and how such financing may divert scarce resources from agencies’ primary missions,” according to the report on the omnibus spending bill.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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