bush wants $82 billion more for iraq/afghanistan

  1. dub
    30,475 Posts.
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    Posted on Mon, Feb. 14, 2005

    Bush wants $82 billion more for Iraq, Afghanistan


    DEB RIECHMANN

    Associated Press


    WASHINGTON - President Bush on Monday urged Congress to approve quickly his request for $82 billion to cover the costs of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and a myriad of other internationally related expenses, such as training Iraqi security forces, aiding tsunami victims and helping military forces in other nations.

    "The majority of this request will ensure that our troops continue to get what they need to protect themselves and complete their mission,'" Bush said in a statement released before the White House officially sent the supplemental budget request to Capitol Hill.

    "It also provides for the continued pursuit of al-Qaida and other terrorist elements in Afghanistan and elsewhere," the president said. "I urge the Congress to move quickly so our troops and diplomats have the tools they need to succeed."

    Included in the request is $74.9 billion for the Defense Department. About $5 billion is for reorganizing Army divisions and brigades and $5.7 billion for training and equipping Iraqi military and police, according to a federal official familiar with the request.

    The remaining money in the supplemental request includes:

    _ $2.242 billion to counter drugs, pay for security, and support democracy and reconstruction in Afghanistan.

    _ $950 million to help areas affected by the recent tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

    _ $660 million for construction of a U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

    _ $400 million to reward nations that have taken political and economic risks to join the U.S.-led coalitions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    _ $242 million for the Darfur region of western Sudan where a two-year civil conflict has left tens of thousands of people dead and more than 2 million displaced.

    _ $200 million in education and border security aid for the Palestinians.

    _ $200 million for economic and military aid in Jordan.

    _ $150 million in military aid for Pakistan.

    _ $100 million for southern Sudan where a treaty recently was signed to end a 22-year civil war.

    _ $60 million for Ukraine, which recently elected Viktor Yushchenko president.

    In a written statement on this issue earlier, Bush had said the special appropriation would support U.S. troops and help the United States "stand with the Iraqi people and against the terrorists trying desperately to block democracy and the advance of human rights."

    The Army wants to use the $5 billion to convert 33 brigades and regiments - about 30 of which are organized into 10 divisions - into a force of 43 to 48 brigades that would operate more independently.

    "Instead of having the brigade communicate with their divisions and the divisions communicate with their higher-ups, all 43 to 48 would be allowed to communicate with higher-ups and operate more or less independently," said Steven Kosiak, an analyst with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and Budgetary Studies.

    Last week, Bush submitted an overall $2.5 trillion budget for fiscal 2006. That document called for restraining spending across a wide swath of government programs from popular farm subsidies to poor people's health programs. Spending on the military, the biggest part of discretionary spending, would rise by 4.8 percent in 2006 to $419.3 billion.

    The money requested for the military did not include the additional $82 billion
    , but administration officials point out that while it was not in the 2006 budget request, the $82 billion for ongoing military expenses in Iraq and the Middle East was built into the administration's deficit projections.

    Still, the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of 35 moderate and conservative Democrats, known as fiscal and defense hawks, are criticizing the administration for using the supplemental budget request to ask Congress for more money to finance the war. Supplemental budget requests often don't receive as much scrutiny and often don't include the same amount of detail as regular budget requests.

    "The Blue Dog Coalition recognizes that we must support our troops, but the Congress cannot continue to write blank checks," the group said in a statement.

    Congress approved $25 billion for the wars last summer. Using figures compiled by the Congressional Research Service, which prepares reports for lawmakers, the new request would push the totals provided for the conflicts and worldwide efforts against terrorism past $300 billion. That includes $25 billion already provided for rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan.

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    bye.dub
    (my underlining)


 
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