Hill Adjusts Bush's Proposed Military Spending

By Wade Boese

As lawmakers rushed to leave Washington before November’s general elections, they passed two bills setting new Pentagon spending policies and totals for fiscal year 2009, which began Oct. 1. They also extended the previous fiscal year’s funding levels for the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. Those legislative moves shifted and reduced expenditures for anti-missile programs, cut spending for non-nuclear global strike weapons, and denied funding for a controversial program to research a new generation of nuclear warheads. Congress also ordered a series of reports on issues ranging from the status of Iran’s nuclear weapons capabilities to U.S. space policy.

On Sept. 30, President George W. Bush signed into law the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act of 2009. That measure includes $487.7 billion in spending for the Department of Defense, but does not finance the ongoing military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, which have been sustained through supplemental appropriations bills. Congress, however, approved up to $68.6 billion in new funding for the two wars in the fiscal year 2009 defense authorization act signed Oct. 14 by Bush. Authorization bills establish spending ceilings and legislative guidelines for programs, while appropriations bills dole out specific funds.

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