“Not in tune with the needs of ordinary Americans.” That was the reaction of one Democrat Senator to the US President’s 2008 budget request. Taking into account inflation adjustment, it is the biggest since the Second World War. There is already opposition to George W. Bush’s 2.2 trillion euro wish list which includes 550 billion more for defence and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The President’s proposals, if adopted as presented, would take us right over the cliff into a chasm of debt. The President´s proposals, over the long term, would put us awash with red ink,” said Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad, a Democrat.
Bush’s budget sets the stage for a heated battle with the Democrats who are newly in control of Congress. They are also likely to oppose domestic cutbacks and have vowed to maintain an aggressive watch over war spending.
But the White House has warned that even more military money may be needed. Foreign Policy analyst Christopher Preble said:
“There already is a certain amount of sticker shock on Capitol Hill right now, because while they had an inkling that this was coming, there was some sense that there was going to be more than 700 billion dollars, it would include Iraq and the Afghanistan war funding in it. When you finally see the bottom line number, it really is shocking.”
The Budget presentation kicks off weeks of talks. Lawmakers will try to produce their own version of the spending blueprint by Spring.