Let's ask Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell:
"Look, obviously there have been developments that have taken place. We could never have accounted for that! I mean, aren't emergencies like this the reason we fund the wars through emergency supplementals?"
Q Geoff, correct me if I'm wrong here, but when President Obama took office in January, wasn't one of his stated goals -- a promise, if you will -- to not have any more war supplemental funding from the Pentagon? Was it a mistake to make that kind of a promise when he hasn't even gotten through a year without doing that?
MR. MORRELL: I seem to recall the statements to that effect. I mean, I think it's -- and that's perfectly reasonable. This administration has made a commitment I've seen it -- and I think you've seen it -- follow through on, which is that they wanted to fund the wars, you know, through a budget process that -- through the same budget process that we looked at for the base budget. So while it wasn't technically part of the base budget, both those numbers were sent to the Hill simultaneously, and the overseas contingency operations fund and the base budget were scrutinized in the same way, by the same committees, on the same timetable. And that remains the case to this day.
Now, obviously there have been developments that have taken place. There's been
a decision -- an extraordinary decision to surge additional forces in. That is the -- that would require emergency funding. And I think the administration, the White House, OMB, this department, are in the process of trying to determine how best -- how best to fund those operations. I don't know that a decision has been made as to whether it will require an additional supplemental, whether there will be an -- you know, whether you will amend something that, you know -- any of the budget bills that are currently up on the Hill. I don't know. They're the best people to address that to.
But I think the president's commitment to having the Congress be able to scrutinize the Defense budget, the war budgets in a very deliberate way remains strong to this day. And -- but I think -- I don't think the commander in chief has ever taken an option that he has off the table.
I don't think there was ever a promise, a determination that you would never perhaps fund things through emergency funding. Things happen that sometimes require that you fund them in extraordinary ways. But let's see what they ultimately determine as to the way ahead.
[Psst! Hey Geoff! Can I have a word?]
"Oh, wait. I've just been told we're not in the business of doing emergency supplementals anymore. So let me get back to you on the yet-to-be-determined 'extraordinary ways' that might be required to fund this genuine emergency."