An additional $50 billion for Iraq?

It looks like the White House expects Congress to roll over again.

Published August 29, 2007 1:19PM (EDT)

Maybe George W. Bush's dire talk Tuesday of a "nuclear holocaust" in the Middle East is a sign that he's feeling a little panicky about what Congress might do about the "surge" next month. But here's something that suggests otherwise: According to the Washington Post, the White House is planning to ask Congress for an additional $50 billion to finance the war in Iraq just as soon as the September debate is over.

The $50 billion would be in addition to $147 billion the administration is already seeking in a supplemental funding bill for Iraq and Afghanistan. It's a sign, the Post says, of "increasing administration confidence that it can fend off congressional calls for a rapid draw-down of U.S. forces."

It's also a lot of money. By the Post's math, a $197 billion supplemental funding bill would indicate that the war in Iraq is now costing Americans more than $3 billion per week.

An administration official says, in the Post's words, that the new spending is "relatively noncontroversial" because the "vast majority" is "necessary just to keep the U.S. military operating in Iraq." Last time we checked, that was a pretty controversial proposition. Having taken the measure of Congress before, the White House apparently figures it won't be come September.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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