White House backs emergency war supplemental

The Obama administration on Wednesday endorsed the House version of the 2009 war emergency funding, thanking lawmakers for not including "earmarks."

The statement of administration policy issued by the Office of Management and Budget comes as a surprise particularly after House appropriators added about $13 billion to the White House's $83.4 billion request.

Among the additions are funds for more Boeing C-17s, Lockheed Martin C-130Js and General Dynamics' Stryker combat vehicles-all money that the Obama administration did not request.

But the need to fund operations in Afghanistan and the new strategy in that region, as well as the conflict Iraq may be overshadowing what normally would be considered parochial interests.

"We face a security situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan that demands urgent attention. The Taliban is resurgent and al Qaeda continues to operate from its safe haven along the Afghan-Pakistan border," the OMB said in its statement. "The administration urges the Congress to move expeditiously to approve this funding to help the people of Iraq take responsibility for their own future and work to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

The statement goes on to say that, "the Administration appreciates that no earmarks are included in the bill, and that emergency funding was limited to non-recurring costs such as wildland fire management and the influenza outbreak."

-Roxana Tiron

View the full statement below:

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20503

May 13, 2009

(House)
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY

H.R. 2346 - Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009
(Rep. Obey (D) Wisconsin)

The Administration strongly supports House passage of H.R. 2346, the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009, which will fund our ongoing military, diplomatic, and intelligence operations, as well as provide emergency funding to support the response to the 2009-H1N1 influenza outbreak. We face a security situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan that demands urgent attention. The Taliban is resurgent and al Qaeda continues to operate from its safe haven along the Afghan-Pakistan border. The Administration urges the Congress to move expeditiously to approve this funding to help the people of Iraq take responsibility for their own future and work to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Defense Matters

The Administration appreciates the Committee's strong support for the ongoing military, diplomatic, and intelligence operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The bill also provides improved protection to our forces against the threat of Improvised Explosive Devices and increased funding to provide wounded servicemembers with the highest quality care. The Administration appreciates Congress' efforts to pass this legislation as quickly as possible, as our military services will have to begin adjusting their day-to-day activities if this legislation is not passed by Memorial Day.

Foreign Operations Matters

The Administration appreciates that the Committee provided funding for the President's international affairs priorities, including the necessary funding for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. In addition, the Administration appreciates the Committee's support for our efforts to assist the Palestinian people, bolster the Mexican government's efforts to combat drug trafficking and organized crime, meet humanitarian needs worldwide, and help address the impact of the global financial crisis in developing countries.

However, the Administration is concerned about the omission of authorizations for the Contributions to Multilateral Development Banks. The Administration urges the House to include language authorizing the 15th Replenishment for the International Development Association (IDA15) and 11th Replenishment for the African Development Fund (AfDF11). These authorizations are necessary for the United States to meet its international commitments to these institutions and to the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI), as well as to maintain leadership as we push for management reforms at both banks. The Congress provided funds for these institutions in P.L. 111-8, the "Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009." Without the necessary authorizations, Treasury cannot make the IDA15 payment before June 30, 2009, and the United States will fall farther behind in meeting its MDRI commitment.

2009-H1N1 Influenza

The Administration appreciates the Committee's inclusion of additional resources to respond to the current 2009-H1N1 influenza outbreak and to prepare for a possible future pandemic influenza. The Administration also commends the Committee for providing some flexibility within the resources to address the 2009-H1N1 outbreak. Out of an abundance of caution, the President requested $1.5 billion and flexibility to enhance our Nation's capability to respond domestically and internationally. The Administration believes that the unpredictable outbreak merits appropriation of funds to a new account in the Executive Office of the President for a Federal-wide assessment and coordination of the resources to respond to this situation.

Other Matters

The Administration appreciates that no earmarks are included in the bill, and that emergency funding was limited to non-recurring costs such as wildland fire management and the influenza outbreak.

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