The U.S. House and Senate are debating the President’s request for 87 billion dollars for Iraq. Most of the money would be used for military operations. Senator Tom Harkin plans to vote against spending 20 billion dollars on Iraq’s reconstruction because the Bush Administration is refusing to provide more information about how the money’s to be spent and hasn’t done enough to get other countries to shoulder the financial burden.Harkin says there’s a “feeding frenzy” from companies paying fat fees to former Bush Administration officials who serve as “fixers” helping the companies land lucrative government contracts. Harkin says in World War I and II, that kind of behavior was condemned as “war profiteering.” Harkin says the Bush Administration is “being stubborn” and refusing any additional accountability for the way the money’s spent in Iraq. Harkin says Bush has repeatedly said “trust me” about Saddam’s connection to al Qaida, about stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons in Iraq, and about a plan to manage post-war Iraq. Harkin says Bush is now asking Congress to trust him again. Harkin says “there’s no education in the second kick of the mule.” Harkin says he’s been kicked by that mule one time too many. Harkin says Iraq has the capacity to repay the money if it were given in the form of a loan, which the Bush Administration refuses to do. Harkin says it’s just not right for American taxpayers to foot the entire bill. The Senate has been voting this afternoon on amendments to the bill which would provide 87 billion dollars for military operations in Iraq and reconstruction of the country. Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell says he’s concerned about reports that our troops aren’t getting the equipment they need. Boswell says we must ensure our troops have whatever they need in Iraq, however, he says we must have a plan to know what they need, and a plan to ensure they have the resources. Boswell, a democrat, says he’s also concerned about the rebuilding effort.Boswell says he has “serious reservations” with the Bush Administration’s proposal for the rebuilding, saying he doesn’t think the administration has provided enough information about the proposal. Some are pushing a plan that would give Iraq a loan instead of direct aid to rebuild their country. Boswell says he favors using Iraqi assets before opening the U.S. bank. Boswell says we ought to be sure in the rebuilding that they’re using Iraq’s assets from oil first for the rebuilding. Boswell says the U-S should be paid back for money spent to rebuild Iraq. Boswell says if it’s the sense of the Bush administration that there needs to be more money spent on Iraq, then Boswell says it ought to be a loan. Boswell says an effort should be made to get other countries in the region to give their input.
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