Lawmakers Want Iraq To Pay More Rebuilding Costs As Oil Revenues Rise

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Capitol Hill (AP) Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers are saying Iraq ought to start paying more of its own reconstruction costs, especially now that oil revenues are rising.

Senator Ben Nelson says the American people “are growing weary not only of the war” but also its costs. The Nebraska Democrat is drafting legislation with Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine and Indiana Democrat Evan Bayh that would make future
reconstruction dollars loans instead of grants.

Michigan Democrat Carl Levin wants to add a provision to a defense bill that would force the Iraqi government to spend surplus oil revenues on reconstruction, before tapping U.S. funds.

While those senators have been war skeptics, others who have supported President Bush's Iraq policies are also raising the issue. At hearings last week, South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham brought up the possibility of using Iraq's budget surplus to help Afghanistan.