Friday, March 23, 2007

The Supplemental on the Hill

The House just passed its version of the Supplemental. Total came out to $124 billion- about $20 billion more than was asked for by President Bush. The Washington Post explains:
"[The bill] grants $25 million to spinach farmers in California. The legislation would also appropriate $75 million for peanut storage in Georgia and $15 million to protect Louisiana rice fields from saltwater. More substantially, there is $120 million for shrimp and menhaden fishermen, $250 million for milk subsidies, $500 million for wildfire suppression and $1.3 billion to build levees in New Orleans.

“…The legislation pays more heed to a handful of peanut farmers than to the 24 million Iraqis who are living through a maelstrom initiated by the United States, the outcome of which could shape the future of the Middle East for decades.”
Beyond providing emergency spending, the bill also sets binding benchmarks for progress in Iraq, establishes tough readiness standards for deploying U.S. troops abroad and requires the withdrawal of American combat forces from Iraq by the end of August 2008.

Yesterday the Senate Appropriations Committee approved, by a voice vote, a version of the FY2007 Supplemental that totals $121.664. The legislation also calls on the President to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq within 120 days of its enactment, though un
like the House version it is not a firm requirement. The Senate version goes further than the House version in supporting development in Iraq (for example it fully funds the CAP program); however, there is still falls millions of dollars short of what is needed to effectively help the people of Iraq.

On that note, consider calling your Senator and letting him know just that. EPIC has set up a little action center with talking points, fact sheets and every thing else you might need to call your Senator in support of increased funding for humanitarian aid and economic development. Feel free to add this nifty banner I made to your blog, website, or wherever else if you support relief and development in Iraq.

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