The Associated Press has a major story out confirming that President Bush has been hyping a false Iraq spending deadline.
For weeks, the Bush administration has been trying to force Congress to abandon its support for an Iraq withdrawal timeline by claiming that a “clean” Iraq spending bill must be signed by mid-April or U.S. troops will suffer. In one speech, President Bush warned Congress that “the clock is ticking for our troops in the field”:
BUSH: Congress continues to pursue these [withdrawal] bills, and as they do, the clock is ticking for our troops in the field. Funding for our forces in Iraq will begin to run out in mid-April. Members of Congress need to stop making political statements, and start providing vital funds for our troops.
Days later, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report showing that the Army actually has enough money in its existing budget to operate through June. But Bush and his Iraq allies wouldn’t accept it. Here’s Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Fox on 4/1/07:
FOX: So, Senator McConnell, is this talk about an April deadline for getting the funding bill to the president, is that something of a scare tactic?
MCCONNELL: Well, the problem is CRS is wrong.
But now, the AP reports, the CRS numbers have been confirmed by the Pentagon:
The Pentagon says it has enough money to pay for the Iraq war through June, despite warnings from the White House that troops are being harmed by Congress’ failure to quickly deliver more funds.
The Army is taking a series of “prudent measures” aimed at making sure delays in the bill financing the war do not harm troop readiness, according to instructions sent to Army commanders and budget officials April 14.
President Bush can’t even fear-monger right these days.