Carper Voted to Pay for Bill's Costs; Demand Accountability from White House
Oct 17 2003
WASHINGTON -- Saying it was vital that the United States secure and stabilize Iraq, Senator Carper today voted for legislation that would provide $87 billion to aid the U.S. military's peacekeeping actions and rebuild part of the country's infrastructure. The final vote was 87-12. "Despite concerns about the bill's cost and the direction the president has taken so far in Iraq, the only way we're going to keep our troops safe and bring them home sooner rather than later is to fund the reconstruction efforts and give the U.S. military the tools it needs to get the job done," said Senator Carper, in voting for the legislation. Throughout debate on the Iraq bill, Senator Carper raised concerns about the bill's cost, especially in light of our ballooning federal deficit, and he voted several times to try to pay for the legislation. One such amendment, to convert half of the $20.3 billion in designated reconstruction funds into a bilateral loan to Iraq, passed on a 51-47 vote Thursday. That amendment would require about $10 billion be loaned to Iraq - unless the administration persuaded other countries, including those in the Middle East and Europe, to forgive 90 percent of Iraq's existing debt. "The United States should not be the only country that bears the financial burden of Iraq's reconstruction," said Senator Carper. "The administration told us before we went to war that Iraq's rich oil reserves would help pay for the country's rebuilding. This amendment takes the administration at its word and simply asks that Iraq use some of its own resources in the reconstruction effort." Sen. Carper supported two other amendments, both of which were defeated by the Republican majority in the Senate, to help offset the cost of the bill and Iraq's reconstruction. One such amendment, sponsored by fellow Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, would have paid for the entire bill by rescinding tax cuts scheduled for those families with annual incomes close to $400,000 and above. Sen. Carper also voted for another amendment, sponsored by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., that would have required any future budget requests for Iraq be paid for through the country's oil reserves. In addition, Sen. Carper supported an amendment, offered by Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.V., that would force the administration to deliver to Congress within six months a clear and detailed plan for success in Iraq. The amendment, which was defeated, would have also called on the administration to work through the United Nations to secure troop commitments and financial aid from other countries before coming back to Congress with another budget request for Iraq.