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Bush Signs War Funding Bill

U.S. President George Bush has signed legislation providing an additional $162 billion to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. VOA White House Correspondent Paula Wolfson has details.

President Bush says America has a responsibility to back its men and women serving in the military, especially at a time of war.

"We owe these brave Americans our gratitude," he said. "We owe them our unflinching support. And the best way to demonstrate that support is to give them the resources they need to do their jobs and to prevail."

Mr. Bush spoke just minutes after signing a war funding bill that was the result of months of negotiations, debate, and compromise between the White House and Capitol Hill. He hailed the legislation as a true bipartisan effort.

"This bill shows the American people that even in an election year, Republicans and Democrats can come together to stand behind our troops and their families," President Bush said.

The president went out of his way to praise the Congressional leaders from both parties who worked on the legislation. And he noted that members of Congress provided the money without conditions.

"I appreciate that Republicans and Democrats in Congress agreed to provide these vital funds without tying the hands of our commanders and without an artificial timetable for withdrawal from Iraq," said President Bush.

This legislation brings the total allocated for the war in Iraq to more than $650 billion during the past five years. Estimates of spending for Afghanistan are roughly in the $200 billion range.

The measure signed by the president is expected to fund the war effort well into 2009. The next spending request will be submitted by his successor.