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US Rep. Ike Skelton: Congress Won’t Block Funds To Troops January 8, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Congress, Military News, Politics, US News.
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WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo. and the new House Armed Services Committee chairman, said Monday that Congress won’t try to block funding that supports U.S. troops overseas.

Cutting off funding is just one of three options Congress has for disagreeing with the White House’s policy direction, Skelton said. It is also the least practical option, he said.

“We’re not about to cut off funding for troops. You know that. That would be injurious to our troops and their families,” Skelton said at a panel discussion sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a bipartisan foreign policy think tank in Washington.

The other two options are limit-setting legislation and increased oversight, Skelton said.

So far, increased oversight is on the table. The Democrats have said they will resurrect a House Armed Services Committee panel on oversight and investigations to make sure that the administration is held accountable.

When asked whether he would seek to cut big weapons programs to pay for more infantry soldiers, Skelton said there wasn’t a direct tradeoff.

“I don’t think this is a choice between boots on the ground and high tech. Needless to say, all of the above are important,” Skelton said. He also called for more focus on “information operations” in hopes of winning over Iraqi public opinion.

U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Tx., said Congress needs to push the Pentagon to do a better job of looking after troops. This includes making sure troops have enough body armor, rifles and radios to do their jobs, and funding more equipment if needed, he said.

By Rebecca Christie; Dow Jones Newswires

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