Obama Asks Congress For $11 Billion At The Last Minute To Fight ISIS
The White House requested an additional $11.6 billion for the current budget “to degrade and ultimately defeat the Islamic State,” according to a budget amendment sent to Congress Thursday.
Funds would go to support the deployed troops “including the additional forces [Congress] recently approved, who are providing training, advice, and assistance to partner security forces,” the cover letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, signed by President Barack Obama, says. The 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan are technically in an advisory role and not involved in combat, according to the Obama administration.
The White House wants the $11.6 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account, sometimes called the “war readiness fund.” The U.S. Department of Defense will receive $5.8 billion, with the remainder going to the Department of State and the U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID).
If Congress approves the president’s budget amendment, it will bring the total amount of OCO funding for the 2017 fiscal year to $85.3 billion. (RELATED: Pentagon Skimmed $147 Billion Off War Readiness Fund For Basic Operations)
USAID and State Department funds will be used to clean up unexploded ordnance and help stabilize Iraq and other former ISIS-held territories. The money would also be directed to “police training, stabilization and core development work in northern Nigeria and the broader Lake Chad Basin region affected by Boko Haram/ISIL,” the letter said.
Some dollars would also go to fund the Global Engagement Center, a State Department project created “to speak out against these groups and provide an alternative to ISIL’s nihilistic vision.”
Congress has yet to pass a full budget to fund the military and the rest of the government past Dec. 11, 2016, an issue that will be key at the start of the lame duck session.
Rep. Mac Thornberry believes that the $11.8 billion is not sufficient to address the ISIS threat.
“While we will review the request carefully, the amount still does not accommodate the increased pace of operations against ISIL and does nothing to begin addressing the readiness crisis,” Thornberry said in a statement. “It is time to put politics aside and provide our men and women in uniform the resources actually required, not just what is politically expedient.”
Congress should approve the funding as soon as possible, particularly the State Department and USAID funds, in order to enhance security overseas, Liz Schrayer, president & CEO of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and proponent of increased U.S. diplomatic engagement abroad, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement.
“Given the growing threats facing America around the world – particularly with the rise of ISIS – this proposal announced today is essential to keeping our nation safe,” Schrayer said. “We know all too well that what happens overseas threatens us here at home. And if we don’t deal with crises abroad, they end up on our doorstep.”
Editor’s note: This post has been updated with additional comments from Schrayer and Rep. Thornberry.
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