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Bush: Further Delay in War-Spending Bill Will Impact Troops

By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2007 – President Bush yesterday once again called for Congress to send him a clean emergency war-spending bill that does not include tacked on funding measures and a timeline for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Without the supplemental funds requested by the White House in early February, military officials will be compelled to shift money around to fill expenditure disparities, Bush said during his weekly radio address to the nation.

“In the next few days, our military leaders will notify Congress that they will be forced to transfer $1.6 billion from other military accounts to make up for the gaps caused by Congress' failure to fund our troops in the field,” he said. “That means our military will have to take money from personnel accounts so they can continue to fund U.S. Army operations in Iraq and elsewhere.”

The $1.6 billion is in addition to the $1.7 billion in transferred funds U.S. military leaders notified Congress about last month, Bush noted.

“In March, Congress was told that the military would need to take money from personnel accounts, weapons and communications systems, so we can continue to fund programs that protect our troops from improvised explosive devices and send hundreds of mine-resistant vehicles to the front lines,” he said.

Bush said further delays in the war-spending bill would negatively affect U.S. troops. “The longer Congress delays the worse the impact on the men and women of the armed forces will be,” he said.

On April 18, the president plans to meet congressional leaders of both political parties at the White House to discuss the emergency war funding request. Bush said he will veto the bills already passed by the House and Senate because they impose restrictions on U.S. military commanders, set a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq, and include billions of dollars on domestic projects that have nothing to do with the war.

“We owe it to the American people and to our troops and their families to deliver our full support,” he said.

Bush said he realizes political differences are inherent in Washington, but stressed U.S. troops should not be trapped in the middle of such differences.

“Supporting our troops is a solemn responsibility of all elected officials in Washington, D.C.,” he said.

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