Tanner disturbed by report of Iraqi oil surpluses

Tanner disturbed by report of Iraqi oil surpluses

Posted: Saturday, August 9, 2008 6:55 pm

WASHINGTON — Congress-man John Tanner said the United States’ policy toward Iraq should take into account that country has a large budget surplus from oil reserve revenues. The information was included in a report Tuesday from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. “When the Iraqi government has the money to pay for its own infrastructure needs, it is absolutely obscene for the Bush Administration to ask the American taxpayer to continue to shoulder this responsibility,” he said. The GAO report (http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d081031.pdf) notes that from 2005 to 2007, the Iraqi government generated an estimated $96 billion in revenues, almost all of it from oil revenues. It is estimated Iraq will generate an additional $73 billion to $86 billion in revenues this year, largely because of the high price of oil, resulting in a budget surplus that could top $50 billion. U.S. taxpayers, meanwhile, have spent about $48 billion for stabilization and reconstruction activities in Iraq since the war there started in 2003, according to Tanner, who has voted in the past to limit the amount of U.S. funding that can be used for Iraqi infrastructure projects. “Tennesseans are struggling to make ends meet at the gas pump and in their family budgets, while we have to borrow money from other countries to upgrade our own infrastructure, adding to a federal debt approaching $10 trillion,” Tanner said. “American taxpayers should not have to continue supporting the Bush Administration’s open-ended commitment to rebuild Iraq, now that our brave men and women in uniform have completed their initial military mission. “It is past time we hand control of Iraq over to its own people,” Tanner said. “That means demanding that Iraqi security forces secure their own country and that the Iraqi government begin paying for its own infrastructure and economic development.” Tanner, a veteran of the U.S. Navy and the Tennessee Army National Guard, serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee. He is chairman of the House delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Published in The Messenger 8.8.08

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