Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said Tuesday the Pentagon will need more money to fund the military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) — and suggested Arab nations should bear the cost.
Nelson was asked on CNN if the Defense Department has sufficient funding for current operations and whether it would need more for the long campaign.
“Yes and yes,” said Nelson, a member of both the Senate’s Armed Services and Budget committees.
Asked if the U.S. should ask oil-rich Arab governments to reimburse the U.S. for the enormous costs, Nelson said “Absolutely.”
“One of the things that sticks in my craw is when we went into Iraq — by the way, under false pretenses — we were also told that the revenues from the Iraqi oil were going to reimburse the United States for all of the treasure that we spent,” Nelson said. “The Arab nations have to shoulder the cost.”
The U.S. should “insist” that Iraq also share the expense of the military operations, the senator added.
“It’s a long-term expensive campaign. The Iraqi oil ought to now start paying for what we were told years ago it would be.”
Nelson said the U.S. should spend whatever it takes to defeat ISIS in both Iraq and Syria.
Nelson made the comments a day after the U.S. launched airstrikes targeting ISIS and an al Qaeda group in Syria, following weeks of attacks in Iraq.
The White House, though, has not provided an estimate on how much the war against the terror group would cost.
“I don’t have an estimate on that,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said on Monday. “I know that we’re interested in having an open dialogue with Congress to ensure that our military has the resources necessary to carry out the mission that the president has laid out.”
A spokeswoman for the House Appropriations Committee told The Hill that as of Tuesday morning the panel had not received any new appropriations requests from the White House.
The Pentagon said in late August it had enough funding from the $85 billion appropriated in 2014 for overseas contingency operations to run the military campaign against ISIS in Iraq. The department says activities in Iraq have cost about $7.5 million per day based on a snapshot of operations since Aug. 26.