In a little-noticed Senate floor speech on December 18, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), the ranking Republican on the Appropriations defense subcommittee, revealed that the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan “is approaching $15 billion a month.” Stevens made his comments while arguing for adding $70 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan to an omnibus spending bill for 2008. President Bush signed the budget bill yesterday. Watch it:
Instead of the $70 billion that Congress passed before the holiday break, the Bush administration originally requested $189.3 billion for the wars. Based on that request, the Congressional Research Service reported earlier this month that Bush’s war spending requests have increased significantly over the past two years:
the Congressional Research Service (CRS) reported this month that the Bush administration’s request for the 2008 fiscal year of $189.3 billion for Defense Department operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and worldwide counterterrorism activities was 20 percent higher than for fiscal 2007 and 60 percent higher than for fiscal 2006.
In November, congressional Democrats released a study estimating that the “hidden costs” of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan “so far total approximately $1.5 trillion,” costing “the average U.S. family of four more than $20,000.”
As former Office of Management and Budget official Gordon Adams told the Washington Post upon hearing Steven’s numbers, “Iraq, Afghanistan, and the war on terror are not getting cheaper.” In October, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said she was “not worried” about the cost of the wars.