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New Sheriff in Town?

Seeking greater accountability from the Bush administration, the Senate passed an amendment requiring that all future contracts to rebuild Iraq be awarded via an open and competitive process, The New York Times reported. The amendment is one of several proposals that could be tied to President Bush's $87 billion spending request for Iraq and Afghanistan. Lawmakers in both parties aren't happy with the information about how the administration spent the $79 billion they approved in April. Prior to the war, Halliburton Co. was given an open-ended, no-bid contract potentially worth billions of dollars.

Sen. Ron Wyden, who sponsored the amendment with Sen. Susan Collins, said the lack of information provided by the administration was like a blank account statement from the bank, the Times reported. "Up to now, it's been like Dodge City before the marshals showed up."

Posted 10-03-2003 4:31 PM EDT

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Zero Bang for Buck

After seven months of unsuccessful searches for Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, the Bush administration has a new plan: Let's spend more money. Tucked away in a classified section of President Bush's $87 billion spending request for Iraq and Afghanistan expenses is a request for $600 million to continue searching for chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, according to The New York Times. The Pentagon declined to comment on the classified request. If approved, the total price for the search will be about $1 billion.

Since the search for WMDs has thus far proved fruitless, Americans might be wondering how the administration plans to spend the extra money. After all, "it's your money," not the government's, as Bush is fond of saying.

Posted 10-02-2003 12:05 PM EDT

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Fill in the Blanks

The White House has refused U.S. Sen. Bob Graham's request to declassify part of a congressional report on the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to Reuters. The 900-page 9/11 report, released by a joint intelligence committee in July, has 28 blank pages that reportedly include details of Saudi Arabia's involvement in the plot.

Graham and Sen. Richard Shelby served on the committee, and Shelby is on record as saying that "95 percent of that information could be declassified, become uncensored so the American people would know."

Posted 10-02-2003 12:02 PM EDT

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