Since the Republicans lost control of Congress and the White House, they have conveniently decided it’s time to rein in spending after helping President Bush bequeath the current administration with a more than $1 trillion deficit.
Part of that campaign has been to target the once sacrosanct emergency war funding. Republicans made a fuss last year because the war funding bill contained money for the IMF. Last month, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) said war funding needs to be paid for. Today on ABC’s Top Line, Sen. John Thune (R-ND) indicated that most Republicans are starting to hold this view:
THUNE: Republicans are increasingly, I think, dug in on the issue of making sure that new spending is offset. … Frankly, I think that there is even a growing consensus among Republicans that we need to start budgeting for this, we need to start figuring out how to pay for it. And I think that’s kind of the majority view among Republicans now.
The Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim has noted the obvious hypocrisy here:
The indecision on the vote from Coburn’s colleagues is a stark contrast from the wars’ early years, when President Bush’s war supplementals flew through GOP-controlled Congresses and any opposition was portrayed as unpatriotic. Cries of “Support The Troops!” met any lawmaker who questioned the direction or the purpose of either the Iraq or Afghanistan war.
Indeed, during the spend-with-no-consequence Bush administration days, Thune praised Congress whenever it passed non-offset emergency war funding. “This critical supplemental funding gives our troops and diplomats the important tools they need to spread freedom abroad and strengthen our security at home,” Thune said in 2005. Thune even cheered an emergency supplemental with unrelated funding for drought assistance in 2007.
On Top Line, Thune seemed to recognize the contradiction and justified the previous GOP support for emergency war funding. “Republicans in the past have viewed Iraq and Afghanistan and the war effort as something that truly is an emergency,” he said, adding, “although it’s hard to say now that we don’t know what these costs are gonna be.”