US Spending on Afghan War Highest to Date
The annual price tag for the war in Afghanistan continues to grow after nine years of war. The United States and NATO plan to spend $11.6 billion on Afghan forces alone, according to The Washington Post. The US plans to spend at least $100 billion on the war in Afghanistan this year. The price tag is the highest to date. The new funding will push the cost of the war in 2010 and 2011 to $20 billion, which is as much as was spent during all seven previous years combined. The military hopes to shift security responsibility from international forces to local troops.
Unemployment claims in the US rose slightly more than expected in the last week of 2010, according to Market Watch. The Labor Department reported that jobless claims rose last week by 18,000 to top out at 409,000, a larger figure than officials expected.
Treasury Secretary Warns Congress About Debt Limit
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sent a letter to Congress warning of "catastrophic economic consequences that would last for decades" if Congress refuses to raise the statutory debt limit for the government, according to The Hill. The letter, sent to all members of Congress, ignited arguments among Republicans who took over the House of Representatives this week. Some Republicans want to freeze the government's debt limit. "Spending cuts - and reforming a broken budget process - are top priorities for the American people and for the new majority in the House this year, and it is essential that the president and Democrats in Congress work with us in that effort," said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
More Marines Going to Afghanistan
The US plans to temporarily send an additional 1,400 marines to Afghanistan to secure fragile security gains made during a time when casualties on both sides have reached an all-time high, according to Reuters. A review made by the Obama administration claims the US is making headway against the Taliban and other insurgents in Afghanistan, but serious challenges remain in the unstable country.
Democrats to Defend Health Care Reform After All
Top Democrats plan to spend the next week defending the Obama administration's health care reform law, according to The Hill, which pointed out that Democrats refused to defend health care reform during the 2010 midterm elections. New House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) decided to schedule a vote on the complete repeal of the health care reform law, originally passed in March 2010. Democrats plan to defend their landmark reform package on "all fronts."