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25 January 2005

White House Confirms $80 Billion Supplemental Request

Sum intended to cover costs of military operations, training of security forces

By Kurt Pyle
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- Senior administration officials said the White House will seek an approximately $80 billion supplemental request for the 2005 fiscal year, this in addition funding included the White House’s fiscal 2006 budget request scheduled to be released February 7.

Speaking at a background briefing January 25, the officials said the vast majority of these funds, approximately $75 billion, would fund Department of Defense operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, in addition to $25 billion already earmarked in the 2005 budget.

President Bush, in a statement released following the briefing, confirmed the supplemental request and called upon Congress to support the supplement in a bipartisan manner.

Bush’s statement said the supplement would allow troops to continue to be fully equipped and would signal a commitment to the Iraqi people, and said it “again makes clear to terrorists that our resolve is firm and we will complete our mission.

The exact amount of the request will not be known until early February and will include tsunami relief costs, which were estimated at approximately $5 million dollars a day.

Officials said the supplement would take into account emerging refurbishment and acquisition costs for the military, which has been put under strain from operating at a tempo averaging five times normal.  The supplement will also include funds to improve army combat capabilities through continued reorganization.

Approximately $1 billion will be allocated to the development of new weapons systems, particularly those designed to reduce the impact of improvised exploding devices.

Additional funds will be directed to training of security forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with funds for construction of an embassy in Iraq, reconstruction funds for Afghanistan and assistance to victims of the conflict in Darfur.

Officials also said a portion of the funds would be directed toward assisting the Palestinian people in the development of political and economic institutions at a planned March 1 summit in London and were meant to encourage additional international assistance.

Administration officials projected that this supplemental request would raise the budget deficit to $427 billion dollars, but that the request would not derail the administration’s goal of halving the deficit by 2009.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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