Congress passed a law requiring the Bush administration to estimate the future costs of the war in Iraq. Here’s an excerpt:
The President shall provide to the Congress a report detailing the estimated costs over the period from fiscal year 2006 to 2011 of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, or any related military operations in and around Iraq and Afghanistan, and the estimated costs of reconstruction, internal security, and related economic support to Iraq and Afghanistan… the report referenced above shall be submitted no later than January 1, 2005.
There is an exemption if the administration certifies that estimates “cannot be provided for purposes of national security.” But the President hasn’t done that. From Bloomberg:
Instead of a presidential waiver, Joshua Bolton, director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote congressional leaders in May 2005 that the Pentagon couldn’t compile the estimates because “there are too many variables to predict accurately.’’
Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) isn’t happy:
The Bush administration hasn’t followed a 2005 law requiring the Pentagon to estimate the cost of Iraq and Afghanistan military operations through 2011, a Republican lawmaker said today.
“The administration does not appear to have compiled with a statutory requirement to provide Congress with a report,” wrote Representative Christopher Shays in a letter to the chairmen of the House and Senate armed services and appropriations committees.
Shays has good reason to be concerned about mounting costs. Total appropriations for Iraq by Congress will soon exceed $400 billion.