When then Office of Management and Budget Director Rob Portman unveiled the president’s budget for fiscal year 2008 back in February, he said that the White House had heard “loud and clear” that Congress wanted “more transparency and more and better information sooner” when it comes to funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Therefore, he said, the White House was “showing full war costs” for 2008, and that number would be $145 billion.
The president asked Congress for an additional $46 billion for the wars today, bringing the total 2008 request to $196 billion.
How was Portman off by more than 30 percent?
The explanation from the White House: Hey, we were close.
White House spokesman Tony Fratto said today that Portman’s projection amounts to, “you know, upwards of 75 percent of what the total request would be. That was a good-faith estimate at that time as to what we thought the FY ’08 spending required would be.”
Two points worth mentioning here.
First, FY 2008 began just 22 days ago, meaning there’s still plenty of opportunity for the $196 billion to become something larger.
Second, the additional $46 billion the president seeks today is about one-and-a-half times as much as the amount Bush says the government can’t possibly spend over the next five years on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.