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White House Reverses Course on Oversight of Iraq Reconstruction
A top Bush administration official today told a House Appropriations subcommittee that the White House now supports new funding for an inspector general who has been critical of how the administration has spent billions Iraq reconstruction money.
President Bush’s fiscal 2006 budget request sought no extra money for the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. The foreign operations appropriations bill passed by the House in June did not extend the office, which is currently scheduled to expire next summer, long before most of the reconstruction money is spent.
But James Kunder, an assistant administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development, today said the administration supports continued funding for the work of Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general, who has been one of the most aggressive investigators of fraud in the spending of reconstruction money.
Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., who chaired the hearing, painted a dismal picture of reconstruction efforts. “It has been obvious for the past 20 months that the administration’s lofty hopes were vastly overblown and congressional concerns well grounded,