Senate Will Vote Today on War Supplemental -- and Paying for It

A close vote is expected today to end debate in the senate on a $59 billion supplemental that includes funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and some disaster aid. The spending is labeled as “emergency” in order to avoid the need for offsets, although the wars are not new developments.

Before the cloture vote, the senate will vote on two amendments sponsored by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) to fully pay for the bill's costs by rescinding spending in other areas. The rescissions proposed by Senator Coburn include cutting budgets of members of Congress, selling unused government property and equipment, reducing printing and publishing costs of federal documents, and eliminating bonuses for poor performance by government contractors.

CRFB has called for war costs to be paid for and has decried the use of the “emergency” designation to evade pay-as-you-go requirements. The supplemental and even-larger “tax extenders” bill being considered would add significantly to the federal debt at a time that other countries are paying the price for mounting red ink. Just because a bill is critical doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be paid for. Lawmakers should be prioritizing their projects and finding responsible ways to budget for them.