president asked Congress last week to authorize new funding for the
war in Iraq, which was not paid for in the wasteful budget recently
passed in the House of Representatives. You might assume that Congress
would simply approve legislation that pays for military supplies and
hardware, troop wages, ammunition, fuel, food, and the like. In other
words, the bread and butter items that our troops need to prosecute
the war in Iraq.
But nothing is simple in Washington. Congress could
not resist the opportunity to put its hands in taxpayers’ pockets
by adding 20 billion dollars in completely unrelated spending to the
final bill. In essence, Congress is so addicted to spending that it
will use any opportunity, even a war, to spend money for every conceivable
reason- however unrelated to the war in Iraq.
We must understand that America is in a financial crisis.
Tax revenues are down due to the faltering economy, but congressional
spending has exploded by more than 22% in just two years. As a result,
annual deficits have risen rapidly, and the national debt now approaches
6.5 trillion dollars. Almost all of this new spending has been completely
unrelated to homeland defense or national security concerns. The same
old failed domestic agencies and special-interest pork programs have
received the bulk of the dollars. While Congress should fund constitutional
federal functions like national defense, our very solvency as a nation
is being threatened by unconstitutional spending.
Here are some examples of what ended up in the “war
-$3.2 billion for an airline bailout-even though the
airlines always seem to be troubled and always feel they deserve tax
money. If we bail out the airlines, why not the hotels, restaurants,
and rental car agencies that have been affected by 9-11 and the war
in Iraq? Why not every industry that’s suffering?;
-$125 million for congressional security, to make sure members are safe
even if the country is not;
-$11 million for salaries and expenses for the House of Representatives,
who already approved a pay raise for themselves last Fall;
-$250 million for Department of Agriculture grants;
-$69 million for something called the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust;
-$5.5 million for the Library of Congress;
-$6.8 million for the Congressional Research Service and General Accounting
-$100,000 for the U.S. Court of International Trade.
The bill also includes $8 billion in foreign aid, which
is especially egregious given the state of the American economy. How
can we ask taxpayers to send billions abroad with things so tough for
many here at home?
The $ 8 billion includes:
-$1 billion in "economic assistance" for Turkey,
even though they refused to let America use its bases to stage our assault
on Iraq and have only grudgingly allowed use of its airspace;
-$700 million for Jordan;
-$500 million for Egypt;
-$127 million for Afghanistan;
-$1 billion in for Israel;
-$175 million for Pakistan;
-$170 million to train the “Afghan National Army";
-$406 million for Jordan;
and the list goes on and on. All of this is of course
in addition to the standard foreign aid we send these nations and many
others every year.
These are just some examples of how Congress takes
every possible opportunity to spend your money, even when it should
be focused on the war in Iraq. Was it really too much to ask for a clean
bill to fund the president's request, a bill unencumbered by pork handouts
and useless foreign aid? Apparently not even war can prevent Congress
from shamelessly sticking its hands in your pockets while cloaking itself
in “support the troops” rhetoric.