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Senate Approves $50 Billion for War Efforts

But the White House threatens to veto the spending bill if sent to the president with a provision restricting the treatment of prisoners.

October 08, 2005|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted Friday to give President Bush an additional $50 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. military efforts against terrorism, money that would push total spending for the operations past $350 billion.

In a 97-0 vote, the Republican-controlled Senate signed off on the money as part of a $445-billion military spending bill for the budget year that began Oct. 1.

The bill includes a measure that would put restrictions on the treatment of detainees suspected of being terrorists -- a provision that has drawn a veto threat from the White House and may be altered in a House-Senate conference.

The funding comes as public support for Bush and the fighting in Iraq has slipped and the number of U.S. casualties has climbed.

The Senate bill provides $5 billion more for the wars than the House version. The final bill is expected to include the full $50 billion after House-Senate negotiators work out their differences.

But leading House Republicans signaled Friday that they would oppose the measure on the treatment of detainees.

Dealing a rare wartime rebuke to President Bush, senators voted for a provision saying that U.S. troops needed clear standards for dealing with terrorism suspects in light of allegations of mistreatment of detainees at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the prisoner abuse scandal at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The provision was sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. It was not in the bill passed by the House and could spark embarrassing internal battling among Republicans.

"We're not going to be delivering a bill to the president's desk that is veto bait," said Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

But the Senate's 90-9 vote on the provision may put immense pressure on House Republicans to retain it.

McCain's provision prohibits cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of anyone in U.S. government custody, regardless of where they are held. It also requires that service members follow procedures in the Army Field Manual during interrogations of prisoners under the Pentagon's control.

Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the provision was needed "to make absolutely clear the policy of the United States."

Bush administration officials say the provision would limit the president's authority and flexibility.

The White House said advisors would recommend a veto of the entire spending bill if it included provisions that would hurt efforts in the administration's war on terrorism.

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