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No Defense Secretary Has Testified Before Budget Panel Since Iraq War Began

No Defense Secretary has testified before the Senate Budget Committee since the war in Iraq began nearly four years and $400 billion dollars ago.

Prior to being sworn in, Secretary Robert Gates pledged to Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) that he would appear before the committee. But after agreeing to testify next Thursday, Gates abruptly cancelled. Conrad and Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), the ranking member on the committee, wrote Gates yesterday asking him to appear by March 1.

The timing of Gates’ cancellation is noteworthy, coming “less than a week after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) alarmed lawmakers by projecting that the president’s plan to increase troop numbers in Iraq could cost more than four times the $5.6 billion promised by the Bush administration.”

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