Once again, the president asked Congress for billions of dollars in war funding for a tragic war in Iraq, while vetoing important domestic priorities like Labor-HHS appropriations and health care for 10 million of our nation's children! This is yet another example of President Bush's insensitive priorities: tax cuts for the rich and billions spent on his oil war, while right here in The United States, he denies health coverage to millions of poor children! It is no wonder that his approval ratings have dipped below 30 percent!
For the cost of less than 40 days in Iraq, we could have provided health care coverage to 10 million children for an entire year! It is simply mind blowing that while the president continues to spend over $10 billion per month in Iraq, and over $600 billion on the war from its outset — the administration refuses to pay less than $3.50 a day to cover a child through CHIP!
For my home state of Florida, KidCare — Florida's CHIP program — 303,595 children were covered in 2006, but 718,603 children remain uninsured. Implementing this bill would have provided Florida with approximately $2.54 billion in new federal funding and an opportunity to get thousands of more children covered.
Indeed, this bill would have provided over 600,000 children in Florida with quality health coverage. It would have taken children out of the emergency rooms and made sure they don't delay health care needs until the last minute by giving them regular checkups and preventive care.
Yet, instead of health care for kids and education programs — President Bush spends and spends more of our nation's tax dollars on a horrific war that three fourths of our citizens detest! With this current spending request, the White House brings the total current fiscal year request for Iraq, Afghanistan and counterterrorism operations to $189 billion! This would bring the total money appropriated since 9/11 to more than $800 billion. At this rate, war appropriations will likely reach $1 trillion by the time Bush leaves office, a total that would exceed the cost of the Korean and Vietnam wars combined!
And while asking for billions and billions more dollars to maintain the status quo in Iraq, the White House continues to oppose, and outright Veto Democratic efforts to invest in important priorities here at home — including bringing down the cost of college, providing health care to our veterans and meeting our country's law enforcement needs.
I have never supported the war in Iraq. Yet I will always support our brave troops. From the very beginning of Bush's war, I have stood as a bitter opponent, and voted against the War Resolution, House Joint Resolution 114, which 'authorized the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq,' when it came before the House of Representatives back on Oct. 8, 2002. I have argued from the beginning of this conflict that the President intentionally misled the American public with his oil war … and that more than anything, links between Al Queda and Iraq, a claim the White House persists in to this day, and Iraq's weapons of mass destruction accusations, have all been proven false.
And sadly, the cost of the war grows day after day after day, both in dollar terms, and in human suffering. The American people long ago rejected the president's planned 10-year occupation of Iraq. And now they are demanding that Congress and the Bush Administration give them a plan to bring our troops home immediately!
U. S. Rep. Corrine Brown is a Democrat from Florida.