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House OKs Emergency Funding for Wars

Debate becomes heated before the $45-billion 'bridge fund' for Iraq and Afghanistan passes.

June 21, 2005|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives voted Monday to advance the Pentagon another $45 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as it passed a $409-billion defense spending bill.

The House approved the emergency "bridge fund," which would bring costs of the U.S. military operations to more than $300 billion.

Rep. C.W. "Bill" Young, the Florida Republican who steered the bill through the House, said it would take care of "the troops who serve our nation and provide them with the equipment and technology necessary to accomplish their mission."

House Republicans rebuffed an effort by Democrats to require President Bush to submit a report to Congress on criteria he would use to judge when U.S. troops could be withdrawn from Iraq.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) called the war "a grotesque mistake" and said the GOP-led Congress had failed to oversee the administration's conduct of it.

That sparked a rebuke from House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), who said, "Leader Pelosi and the Democratic leadership should support our troops instead of spreading inflammatory statements."

The House, by voice vote, accepted an amendment by Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) to lift a $500-million cap on the amount of money available to train and equip Iraqi security forces.

Republicans said the bridge fund was needed to carry the Pentagon from the Oct. 1 start of the next fiscal year through March, when it will need another emergency spending bill.

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