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EXCLUSIVE: US FY08 Budget Funds Iraq Occuption into 2009

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EXCLUSIVE: US FY08 Budget Funds Iraq Occupation into 2009

By Matthew Cardinale, News Editor, Atlanta Progressive News (April 02, 2007)

(APN) ATLANTA – The US House’s Federal Budget for Fiscal Year 2008 also projects $50 billion of spending in 2009 on “Overseas Deployments and Other Activities,” primarily for use in Iraq, Atlanta Progressive News has learned.

US Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) appears to be the only Democrat to have opposed the Budget because of opposition to funding the Occupation; the other Democrats who opposed were Conservative Democrats.

Even progressive Democrats–other than Kucinich–who opposed the Supplemental just a week ago voted yes on the Budget, including US Reps. Lee, Lewis (D-GA), Waters, and Woolsey. Messages left with the Offices of Lee, Waters, and Woolsey were not returned today.

"The President's FY08 budget requests funding for the Iraq war well into 2009 and the Democrat budget accepts that timeline. On the most important issue of our time, we are falling right into line with the President's plan for the war and his requests to fund it," Kucinich said in a press release obtained last week by Atlanta Progressive News.

The press release was also sent to the corporate media, Kucinich’s spokesperson confirmed; however, they all appear to have ignored it.

"The supplemental that just passed the House last week calls for a withdrawal of troops by August 2008. Why does the budget fund the war for perhaps an entire year past the withdrawal date in the supplemental?... If we were serious about trying to stop the war, the budget would not contradict the supplemental," Kucinich said.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) Office suggested to Atlanta Progressive News on Thursday the $50 billion could have been for training the Iraqi military or watching US Embassies in Iraq.

Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill told APN yesterday that he had checked into it and the funding was indeed for those specific purposes. When asked today why those purposes were not specifically listed in the Budget, Hammill said that those are only possible uses of the 2009 Overseas dollars and referred APN to the US House Budget Committee.

"I’m not going to get into specific purposes because it’s just a Budget, not an Appropriation," Hammill told APN.

"August 2008 is a starting point and not an ending point," he said, referring to the target beginning withdrawal date included in the US House Supplemental.

Pelosi’s Office confirmed it’s a possibility that the US Occupation of Iraq could still be going on in 2009 with the withdrawal only beginning in August 2008.

So when will the troops be finished leaving? "I don’t think you’re going to get an answer to that," Hammill said.

The Budget Committee confirmed APN’s analysis of the bill.

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Matthew Cardinale is Editor of Atlanta Progressive News. He has written previously for the Sun-Sentinel Newspaper, Shelterforce Magazine, The Advocate Magazine, The San Francisco Bay View, and the Berkeley Daily Planet Newspaper. He has also (more...)
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