Senate Approves Pentagon Budget

Associated Press
Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Senate passed a $459 billion budget for the Pentagon yesterday, after adding $3 billion to try to gain control over the U.S. border with Mexico.

The Pentagon spending bill, passed by voice vote, does not include President Bush's request of almost $190 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill does award the Pentagon a 10 percent increase of $43 billion, much of which would be devoted to procuring new and expensive weapons systems.

The border-security money was already included in a spending bill for the Homeland Security Department, but was added to the Pentagon measure in a gambit by Republican leaders to save President Bush from an embarrassing override of his planned veto of the Homeland Security measure.

The border-security spending, especially money to construct 700 miles of fencing to keep illegal immigrants from Mexico from crossing into the United States, is so popular among Republicans that, if necessary, they would vote to override Bush's homeland security veto to obtain financing for the fence.

The border money was added to the Pentagon bill by a 95 to 1 vote.

Loss of an override vote would be a major embarrassment as Bush battles with Congress over the 12 appropriations bills funding the government for the budget year that began on Monday.

Bush vowed to veto the homeland security bill because it exceeds his budget by more than $2 billion.

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