Kerry and the $87 billion.

Ok, I’ve tried to make sense of this on my own, so I’m pleading to the dopers to suss this out for me.

Let’s start out with’s summation of what happened. (Unfortunately, none of the links to the Senate’s website is working.)

Kerry, during the second debate, said this:

From what I gather, the first vote for it was for his bill that would not only grant the $87 billion but would roll back a tax cut for those making $400K or more. That bill didn’t pass, but there was another bill for $87B that didn’t include the tax cuts that he voted against? Is that what happened or am I way off?

No, you’re a little off on your description. The second bill (the one that passed that he voted against) DIDN’T include the rollback, which would have paid for the $87 billion. It’s not that it included a tax cut - those had already been put in place months beforehand. Extremely dumbed down explanation:

First bill:
$87 billion in military equipment
$87 billion in tax revenue from tax cut rollback (read: tax increase) on rich people

Second bill:
$87 billion in military equipment

Perfect! Thanks!

Close, but not quite.

The $87 billion was not only for military equipment – it also covered reconstruction efforts in Iraq, as well as aid for Afghanistan; assistance for Pakistan, Jordan, and other U.S. allies; and cash for rewards for the capture of Saddam and Osama bin Laden. (The portion that covered actual “body armor,” another hot debate point, was only about 1/3 of 1%, or 0.0034%.)

The version of the bill Kerry voted for, not only included a rollback of tax cuts to individuals making more than $400k/year, but also called for a portion of the Iraq restructuring costs to be considered a “loan” that Iraq would eventually have to repay. Bush threatened to veto any bill that included any dollar amount in the form of a loan.

Thanks for the further clarification, Shayna. I had a feeling I missed something important.

I also have heard it said that it is the Democrats who added the body armor money to the billl although I haven’t been able to verify this. At the very least though, it was the Democrats who first pointed out that some of the troops had been sent to Iraq without the most modern body armor…so the fact that money for this was specifically in the bill was likely due to their influence, whether direct or indirect.