The Daily Muck

December 27, 2007 8:48 a.m.
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The best new estimate for the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the “global war on terror” more broadly, is $15 billion per month. According to the Congressional Research Service, operations and maintenance costs for the wars have risen to $81 billion in fiscal 2008 from $72 billion in fiscal 2007. (Washington Post)

Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) presided over a nine-second Senate session on December 26. Webb kept the Senate in session over the holiday in order to block Bush’s efforts to make a recess appointment of Steven Bradbury, acting chief of the Justice Department’s Office of Legislative Counsel, who has signed two secret torture memos in 2005. (USA Today)

About 1,500 heavily armored, V-hulled Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRPA) trucks have arrived at long last in Iraq, but the vehicle that is saving lives has a major shortcoming: it lacks the maneuverability for urban warfare necessary to fight the Iraqi insurgency. But with nearly 12,000 of the trucks on order in a program that has a projected cost of more than $17 billion, the expensive new Army weapons system is likely to influence how the Army fights. (LA Times)Half a dozen freshman Democrats have developed a habit of voting against approving the House Journal, or the minutes of the previous day’s business. The lawmakers believe that these votes, despite having no impact on legislative matters, demonstrate their independence from the party leadership and will help them retain their seats when they run as independent-minded or conservative Democrats. (Washington Post)

How the senators celebrated the holiday season: some sent out fund-raising pitches with nasty attacks on their rivals, some escaped ethics investigations unscathed, and some got married. (Washington Post)

Congress inserted nearly 9,800 earmarks totaling $10 billion into the omnibus spending bill. President Bush signed the bill but distanced himself from the earmarks and rebuked Congress. (The Hill)

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