House Debates Iraq, Afghanistan Funding

The House of Representatives is expected to vote Wednesday on legislation to provide $81.3 billion to support U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is the latest of five bills President Bush has asked Congress to approve to pay for ongoing U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

All have been separate from the regular annual government budget approval process, thus they are called supplementals. President Bush originally proposed 81-point-nine-billion dollars.

This legislation contains money needed to supply U.S. troops with better body armor and upgraded vehicles, and proposes funds, although slightly less than requested, for a new U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

Most of the $1.7-billion in foreign aid will support counter-narcotics, reconstruction, and training in Afghanistan.

Among countries helping in the war on terrorism, Jordan would receive $100 million and Pakistan would get $150 million.

Most House lawmakers are likely to support the legislation based on what it contains for the U.S. military. However, some say they will vote against it, saying President Bush has failed to put forward a clear plan for Iraq and accurate estimates of war costs.

On Tuesday, opposition Democrats, such as David Obey of Wisconsin, took the opportunity to renew criticism of President Bush on war costs and other issues. "This country was mis-led into war on the basis of bad information and false information. I believe some of that was purposeful. I think our attack on Iraq is the dumbest American war since the war of 1812," he eaid.

Responding to this, Republicans such as Congressman Tom Cole said the question now is not the fact of U.S. and coalition military action to oust Saddam Hussein, but giving American troops what they need. "Are we going to provide people the resources they need to get the job done that we asked them to do. I think it is very important that we do that on a bipartisan basis, I think that will be a very powerful message in Iraq and a very powerful message around the Middle East," he said.

The House rejected an amendment that had bipartisan support, proposing to create a special congressional committee to investigate the awarding and carrying out of contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In a victory for those seeking more money for victims of conflict in Sudan, the House approved amendments to increase money in the bill for food, disaster relief, and refugee aid, for Sudan's western Darfur region.

On another matter, Congressman Frank Wolf, a Virginia Republican, argued against reducing $580 million in the bill for U.S. assistance to international peacekeeping missions, saying this would seriously affect peace efforts in Darfur and the rest of Sudan. "To take away the peacekeeping money after the Bush administration has done such a good job of bringing north-south peace, to take that away, to allow the raping and the pillaging and everything that is going on in Sudan would be morally unacceptable."

Also rejected on Tuesday was an amendment proposing to eliminate $200 million to be provided indirectly to the Palestinians.

Also included in the legislation: $656 million in relief for countries devastated by last December's tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

As part of funding for U.S. troops, the bill also authorizes an increase in the amount of money paid to families of soldiers killed on active duty, from $12,000 to $100,000.

House approval would send the bill on to the Senate which is not expected to take it up until April.

Final passage by Congress would bring total U.S. expenditures in Iraq, Afghanistan and assistance to allies in the war on terrorism since the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States to about $300 billion.

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syriai
November 26, 2015 5:21 AM
Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs