Not So Fast

Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, already has issued a warning that the Bush Administration’s 2008 budget proposal will not fly easily through the Democratic Congress. He called the amount requested for defense “staggering.” However, he acknowledged, “Our military has long needed an increase in funding to ensure it can defend this nation and prevail in any future conflict,” but added, “Congress must look very carefully at how much of this increase truly goes to enhancing our readiness and future defense capabilities and how much is being spent to further the fight in Iraq.” Wisely this year, the Administration has separated war on terror funding from the basic defense budget, asking for a total of $285 billion for 2007-09. (That breaks down to $93.4 billion more for 2009—over the $70 billion already approved by Congress—and $141.7 billion for 2008 and $50 billion for 2009.) Skelton says the $163.4 billion indicated for 2007 is “an enormous sum” and even though it falls under the Appropriations Committee, he plans to “closely scrutinize” the request.