WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is signaling that it will soon request billions of dollars in supplemental Pentagon funding for air operations against Islamic militants and for higher troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Congressional aides say non-war funding is likely to be part of the administration request, too.
The postelection war funding request would be yet another ingredient in a mix of budget-related items for an unpredictable lame-duck session. Other items include preventing a government shutdown when a government-wide temporary funding bill expires Dec. 9, funding to help Louisiana rebuild from devastating summertime flooding, and money to help Flint, Michigan repair its lead-tainted water system.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters in September that a war funding request would be coming after the elections but offered little detail.
The Pentagon request is being dropped into a monthslong Washington quarrel over GOP moves to open up last year's hard-won budget pact to beef up the defense budget. The White House and congressional Democrats insist that additional defense dollars be matched with increases for non-defense programs, and the White House appears likely to pair the upcoming Pentagon request with non-defense items that would still fit under the umbrella of security costs.
"The national security needs we face are substantial, and include both defense and non-defense priorities," said Matthew Dennis, a spokesman for top House Appropriations Committee Democrat Nita Lowey of New York. Examples of non-Pentagon costs could include funding for the State Department.
What will happen in the lame duck session is highly uncertain. Congressional leaders and members of the Appropriations committees want to pass the remaining 11 agency budget bills for the 2017 fiscal year, which started on Oct. 1. But many conservatives want to kick the raft of unfinished spending bills into next year and divisions among Republicans could have House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., in a shaky position heading into the lame-duck session.