FROM Ben Cohen
The Defense Budget Keeps Growing The much-anticipated Senate debate on Iraq remains a non-starter as Democrats and Republicans squabble over the ground rules. Meantime, the Bush Administration is asking Congress to increase defense spending to near record levels, with the Pentagon ready to ask for still more. As proposed by the President , the 2008 defense budget would be 20% of all federal spending, with a total of $623 billion--8% more than this year, including $142 billion for the war in Iraq . House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls it "a huge number." The military agrees it'll take years to catch up with repair and replacement of basic equipment, but it still wants new, hugely expensive high-tech systems. The US already is spending more than the rest of the world combined on preparing for warfare. Does it get what it pays for? What are the tradeoffs in domestic services and alleviation of global problems?
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
What happens when America retreats from the world? Is President Trump taking his "America First" agenda to extremes, withdrawing the country from the international stage on trade and climate change, distancing America from its traditional allies across the Atlantic and even threatening to physically isolate the country through the building of a wall along its southern border? León Krauze guest hosts.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?