Bush Seeks Further $82 Billion For Iraqi, Afghan, Other Operations
15 February 2005 -- President George W. Bush has urged Congress to approve quickly his request for nearly $82 billion in supplemental funding to cover the costs of U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The package also provides funding for Asian countries hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami in December, aid for refugees in the Darfur region of Sudan, and support for the Palestinians, Jordan, Pakistan, and Ukraine.
The request is expected to be approved by Congress, despite concerns among lawmakers that the spending will increase the American government's already massive budget deficits.
Nearly $75 billion of Bush's request would go to the U.S. Defense Department.
The funding package includes $5.7 billion to accelerate the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces to fight insurgents, and $660 million for construction of a new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
It includes $2.2 billion for Afghanistan to combat the trade in illegal drugs, improve security, and support the growth of democracy and reconstruction.
The request includes $400 million to reward countries that have taken political and economic risks to send their troops to join U.S.-led forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The request includes $950 million in tsunami relief, $242 million for refugee assistance in Darfur, $200 million in education and border security aid to the Palestinians, $300 million in economic and security aid to Jordan, and $150 million in military aid to Pakistan.
Ukraine under new President Viktor Yushchenko would get an additional $60 million in assistance.
Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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