Tuesday, March 06, 2007

White House Ups the Iraq Ante

As the House Democratic leadership desparately tries to herd enough cats to pass the Iraq supplemental, the White House has just made their job harder:

The White House is ready to ask Congress for more money for President Bush's plan - already hotly debated - to send 21,500 new combat troops into Iraq.
The move would pay for support personnel and otherwise update last month's request for the Iraq war. It probably will draw criticism from Democrats who say the Pentagon had low-balled estimates of the costs of Bush's plan for improving security in Baghdad and Anbar province.

The latest request could come as early as today, modifying last month's $93.4 billion request for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through Sept. 30.

Though the changes may be relatively modest, they nonetheless are embarrassing to the White House and the Pentagon, which earlier dismissed criticism from lawmakers that the original $5.6 billion estimate for the troop buildup was too low.

I suppose this is 'embarrassing' to the White House. It sounds challenging for Congressional Democrats as well. The White House has effectively waited until right before the vote before telling Congress, 'you know what? We need $2 billion more for the surge. Thanks.'

It sounds to me as if someone in the Bush Administration has decided that the Democrats must cave and pass a bill they hate, so this is a good time to throw a little salt in the wound. And given the trouble that the Democratic leadership is having in passing a bill, this must be extremely unwelcome.

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