Not unlike the way the Philadelphia Phillies’ chances of winning this year’s World Series decreased substantially on Sunday when they lost game four to the New York Yankees, the Lockheed Martin/AgustaWestland VH-71 presidential helicopter’s chances of receiving funding in this year’s defense appropriations bill diminished considerably yesterday when Congressman John Murtha (D-Pa.) apparently removed his support of the program.
Congress resumed business early last month after an 11-day hiatus and took note of the to-do list President Bush outlined in his weekly radio address. That list included a war funding bill, intelligence legislation, veterans’ benefits and a free-trade pact. However, the Senate first debated the Climate Security Act sponsored by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.).
• As Washington pundits predicted, the $3.1 trillion budget President Bush proposed for the federal fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2008, received a cold reception from Democrats; Republicans were lukewarm on it. This being an election year, Presidential goals are not necessarily those of lawmakers and contentious negotiations might not resolve differences by election day.
• Congressional debates on war funding consumed much of lawmakers’ time and much national media attention. The House passed the $504 billion National Defense Authorization Act by a vote of 397-27. The bill included $141.8 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for Fiscal Year 2008. It now moves to the Senate.