President Obama’s $91.3 billion request to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through the end of the year passed through the Senate last night in a vote of 86-3. Voting against it were Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
The bill chiefly was what was requested by President Obama, omitting only the $80 million in funding for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention center. The bill will now need to be reconciled with the House version, and is expected to be presented to Obama next month.
A failed amendment to the Senate version was also sponsored by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) which would have stripped out $5 billion of additional funding to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Sen. Kerry (D-MA) argued it was necessary to ensure “strong developing economies” could buy US goods. The amendment failed 64-30.
The bill followed in the tradition of his predecessor President Bush, who also used “emergency” funding bills to keep ongoing war expenses “off the books.” The administration insists this will be the last time it seeks such additional funds, though its estimate for war costs in future proposed budgets is likely unrealistically low.