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Top US Officials Urge Passage of Supplemental Spending Bill


Several top U.S. officials, in a rare joint appearance, have urged Congress to pass a $91 billion spending bill for efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Peter Pace, and the head of the U.S. Central Command, General John Abizaid, testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday in support of the legislation.

Secretary Rice said the efforts to be funded include reconstruction in Iraq, debt forgiveness and other projects in Afghanistan, urgent humanitarian relief in Darfur, and earthquake relief in Pakistan.

Rice also cited what she called Iran's terrible human rights record, adding that money also will be used for broadcasts, cultural exchanges and other efforts to promote democracy in Iran.

Senators asked the Bush administration officials about Iraq, Iran and a controversial deal to have a Dubai-owned company manage operations at six key U.S. ports.

The House Appropriations Committee attached an amendment to the spending bill to block the port deal. President Bush has said he will veto any legislation that moves to block that deal.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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