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US Congress approves new Iraq, Afghan war funds

Latest update : 2008-06-27

The US Senate has approved 162 billion dollars in new funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the next year without timetables for troop withdrawal. The bill is expected to be promptly approved by President George W. Bush.

WASHINGTON, June 26 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Thursday
approved $161.8 billion in new funds to continue fighting the
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the next year, without
timetables for withdrawing combat troops.
 

The House of Representatives passed an identical bill last
week. President George W. Bush is expected to promptly sign the
measure into law once he receives it from Congress.
 

The Senate's 92-6 vote to pass the war-funding bill marked
a victory for Bush, who has vigorously opposed any move by
Congress to impose timetables for ending the Iraq war, now in
its sixth year.
 

Democrats, who are the majority party in Congress,
repeatedly had tried to set such dates, most recently with a
House vote in May calling for troop withdrawals to be completed
by December 31, 2009.
 

The new war money could last through mid-2009, well past
Bush's departure from office on Jan. 20.
 

With this legislation, Democrats can claim victory in
winning passage of a significant expansion of veterans'
education benefits and domestic unemployment benefits.
 

The new money for combat in Iraq and Afghanistan puts the
war tab since late 2001 at more than $800 billion, with most of
that money going to Iraq.
 

Congress did attach two conditions on the funds, related to
the war in Iraq. It prohibited the construction of permanent
U.S. military bases in Iraq and required Baghdad to match,
dollar-for-dollar, U.S. reconstruction aid.
 

Now that Congress has passed the final war-funding bill of
Bush's presidency, debate of the Iraq war and how to end it
moves to the presidential campaigns being waged by Democrat
Barack Obama and Republican John McCain.
 

Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans get a huge new benefit
with this legislation: A significant expansion of college
tuition payments by the government at a cost of about $63
billion over 11 years.

Date created : 2008-06-27

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