Panel backs Bush Iraq fund plea

A key US congressional committee has approved President George Bush's request for an additional $87 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The approval is a huge relief for President Bush

    Approving the request overwhelmingly, lawmakers in the House of Representatives' Appropriations Committee agreed to send the spending bill to the full chamber for debate next week.

    By a vote of 47 to 14, lawmakers approved a slightly whittled down White House request, after turning down requests for funds on heads that where considered superfluous.

    "We scrubbed it as well as we can…It's very important we get the remaining funding in the pipeline," Jerry Lewis, a top Republican on the committee said.

    Frills Denied

    The committee turned down White House request for $9 million to develop Iraqi postal codes and $153 million for trash trucks.

    "This $87 billion is a bailout for their failed policy in Iraq to date"

    Nancy Pelosi,
    Democrat leader in the House

    "The step we are taking today is a very, very important step for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and a very important step in our effort to quell terrorism wherever it might challenge free people in the world," Lewis added.

    Alongside snipping some White House requests, lawmakers added millions of dollars in additional support for US military personnel in the region, to compensate what they said was inadequate planning by the US Defence Department for the postwar occupation of Iraq.

    But Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the minority Democrats in the House, vowed to oppose the additional funding.

    "This $87 billion is a bailout for their failed policy in Iraq to date," she said.

    "They are coming back for $87 billion and…that’s not even the end of it," Pelosi said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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