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Bush Promises to Veto War Spending Bill

By Carmen L. Gleason
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2007 – President Bush promised to veto an emergency supplemental war spending bill passed by the House of Representatives today because it sets a date for the return of combat forces from Iraq and includes spending unrelated to the war.

The Defense Department’s emergency fiscal 2007 supplemental request includes $93.4 billion to help fund U.S. forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the global war on terror. The House bill requires that U.S. combat troops be out of Iraq by Aug. 31, 2008, and includes some domestic spending measures.

The Bush administration repeatedly has rejected establishing a deadline for troop withdrawals, insisting that such decisions must be based on conditions in the war zone.

“The purpose of the war spending bill I requested was to provide troops with vital funding,” he said, adding that the House bill only delays the delivery of resources for troops stationed in Iraq.

“A narrow majority has decided to take this course just as (Army) Genral (David H.) Petraeus and his troops are carrying out a new strategy to help Iraqis secure their capital city,” he said.

The president said the military needs the emergency funds right away, as the effort in Iraq shows signs of progress.

“The secretary of defense has warned that if Congress doesn’t approve funding for troops … by April 15, our men and women in uniform will face significant disruptions, and so will their families,” he said.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates yesterday told reporters at the Pentagon that the Army will be forced to consider curtailing and suspending home-station training of Reserve and National Guard forces, and reduce funding for the repair of buildings and equipment if supplemental funding was not passed by Congress.

“I expect Congress to do its duty and fund our troops,” Bush said, “and so do the American people.”

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