GAO: Iraq could have 79 Billion Dollar Budget Surplus

August 6, 2008 6:54:38 AM PDT
Congressional auditors say the government of Iraq could end up the year with a 79-billion-dollar budget surplus. The Government Accountability Office attributes that to increased oil revenues and leftover money the Iraqis still haven't spent on rebuilding.

The report is promoting new calls from members of Congress for Baghdad to shoulder more of the burden for reconstruction, which has been heavily underwritten by the U.S.

The GAO report was requested by Democrat Carl Levin and Republican John Warner of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Levin calls the situation "inexcusable." And Warner says the Iraqi government needs to "fully assume the responsibility to provide essential services and improve the quality of life for the Iraqi people."