Bush $87.5bn Iraq package approved

The US Senate has given final congressional approval to a $87.5 billion emergency spending package for Iraq.

    US lawmakers bowed to president's demand for a no-strings grant

    The package gives President George Bush the huge amount

    he sought to finance Iraq’s occupation and reconstruction.


    The Senate on Tuesday passed the measure giving $64.7 billion to support US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and $18.6 billion in grants to rebuild Iraq, following

    the overwhelming vote for it in the House of Representatives.


    Bowing to Bush, lawmakers provided all the reconstruction money on a no-strings basis, although a number of Republicans joined Democrats in advocating that at least half of the rebuilding money be in the form of loans.


    Veto threatened


    The White House had threatened to veto the entire bill if it required any repayment, which it argued would undermine efforts to stabilise Iraq, prolong the US occupation and burden Iraq with more debt.


    The passage of the bill was never in doubt, as lawmakers said the money to support US troops was essential and that the United States had no option but to keep forces in Iraq.


    But the package was a lightning rod for Democrats' criticisms of Bush's policies, which they say have entangled the US in a prolonged and costly conflict that, as polls

    show, is causing increased public doubt over the wisdom of the invasion.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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