Second tangible benefit of Democratic victory?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006 at 03:20 PM

The "Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction" has uncovered several instances of fraud, embezzlement, and other efforts to redirect money from Iraq reconstruction projects to the pockets of a passel of sleazos.

So, of course the Republicans slipped in a provision to a military authorization bill a while back that would kill the oversight office next year.

But...the Democrats have replaced the Republicans and already have:

...introduced bills yesterday that would extend the life of ...  The Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction... [which] would be abolished next year under a Republican-backed provision included in a military authorization bill that President Bush signed last month. Some lawmakers have said the provision was hastily added without their knowledge.

The new bills were among the first indications that Democrats were following through on their pledge to increase oversight of the Iraq war.

The Senate bill had bipartisan support. It was introduced by Senators Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, and Russell D. Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, along with at least 15 co-sponsors on both sides of the aisle.

Representative Ike Skelton, the Missouri Democrat who is expected to become chairman of the House Armed Services Committee when his party assumes the majority in January, introduced a similar bill in the House with 11 Democratic co-sponsors, a member of Mr. Skelton's staff said.

The House version would not only extend the lifetime of the inspector general's office, but also widen its authority to include American programs for training and equipping Iraqi security forces.