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Bush Seeks Additional $46 Billion For Iraq, Afghanistan


President Bush has sent an emergency request to the U.S. Congress for an extra $46 billion in expedited funds for Iraq, Afghanistan and other national security needs. VOA White House correspondent Paula Wolfson reports the money is in addition to the $145 billion in war-related spending included in his original 2008 budget.

The president says the additional money is needed to make sure American troops have the resources they need to do their job.

"Parts of this war are complicated. But one part is not - and that is America should do what it takes to support our troops and protect our people," said Mr.Bush.

The president says his emergency spending request will provide much needed funds for day to day military operations in Iraq. He says it provides for basic needs like bullets and body armor. And he says members of Congress who say they support the troops have an obligation to approve the money as quickly as possible.

"Every member of Congress who wants to see both success in Iraq and our troops begin to come home should strongly support this bill," said the president.

In a brief statement to White House reporters, the president acknowledged there are some in Congress who are seeking ways to demonstrate their opposition to his war policies. He said while they have a right to be heard, they ought to make sure America's troops have the necessary resources to succeed.

"Our men and women on the front lines should not be caught in the middle of partisan disagreements in Washington, D.C," said President Bush.

Mr. Bush said when the White House sent its 2008 budget to Congress it provided information on the kinds of additional war funding that might be needed. He said lawmakers have no reason to delay consideration of his emergency request.

But the head of the House Appropriations Committee, which drafts all spending bills, makes clear passage will not be automatic. Democrat David Obey says the measure might not even clear his panel before Congress adjourns for the year.

"I have absolutely no intention of reporting out of committee anytime this session, any such request that simply serves to continue the status quo," he said.

In addition to money for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the president's $46 billion supplemental also includes funding for peacekeeping in Sudan's Darfur region, as well as efforts to combat drug trafficking in Mexico and Central America.

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