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American Forces Press Service

Bush Applauds Bipartisan Effort on Supplemental Bill

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2007 – President Bush today applauded the bipartisan effort that led to Congress passing an emergency supplemental budget bill that will fund operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through September.

Bush spoke to reporters briefly after visiting wounded servicemembers and their families at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

The $120 billion bill does not include mandatory dates for withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. Bush vetoed a previous bill with that provision on May 1. Instead, the bill has benchmarks the Iraqi government must meet to keep U.S. support. The president is expected to sign the bill into law later today.

“This effort shows what can happen when people work together,” Bush said. “We've set a good bill that didn't have timetables or tell the military how to do its job, but also sent a clear signal to the Iraqis that there (are) expectations here in America: expectations … about how to move forward.”

The president said he looks forward to working with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his government as Iraq meets those benchmarks.

Turning his attention to his visit to the military hospital, Bush said he was honored “to be here at this place of compassion and healing on Memorial Day weekend.” He said the weekend is a time for Americans to think of the sacrifices war has brought throughout history.

“It's a chance to honor those who have served this country, whether it be in this war or in previous wars,” he said.

Bush thanked the “healers” at the facility. He said they are providing remarkable health care that is saving lives and allowing many servicemembers to move on with their lives.

“I also thank the soldiers and their families who I met here, people who are remarkably brave and courageous,” he said. “I'm constantly amazed at the strength of character of those who wear the uniform. To be the commander in chief of such men and women is … really an awesome honor.”

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