That will come on top of another $50 billion in a defence spending bill that the US Congress approved in December, at a time when the Pentagon estimates the monthly bill for the war in Iraq at about $4.5 billion and Afghanistan at $800 million.
The White House will include the emergency $70 billion spending measure for this year on Monday when it releases its budget submission for the next fiscal year, which begins on 1 October, said Joel Kaplan, Bush’s deputy budget director on Thursday.
“We will include in the budget submission an estimated $70 billion. The actual figure, when we finalise, may be slightly higher or slightly lower than that,” Kaplan told reporters on a conference call.
The budget for next year will include a $50 billion set-aside to cover the war’s anticipated needs in 2007, the official said.
Kaplan refused to say how much money would go to reconstruction efforts in Iraq at a time when spending on those projects has drawn renewed scrutiny amid charges of fraud.
Including the $70 billion request, military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan will have cost $390 billion since the September 11, 2001 terrorist strikes, he confirmed.