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Bush Asks Congress to Pass Funds for Troops

By Sgt. Sara Moore, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2007 – Congress needs to act soon to approve emergency funding for troops in the war on terror, President Bush said here today.

Speaking from the White House Rose Garden, Bush said Congress’ first priority before breaking for the holidays should be to provide troops the money they need for the fights in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The president said “we’re seeing the benefits of success” brought about by the Iraq strategy.

“This month, more of our troops will return home as a result of the success we’re seeing in Iraq. People are coming home,” Bush said. “For Congress to insist on setting an arbitrary date for withdrawal would put the gains (Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, Multinational Force Iraq commander) and our troops have made in danger, and that would threaten the security of our country.”

Bush noted that, beginning in February, he submitted detailed funding requests to Congress for the war on terror. The president said Congress has refused to approve these requests without attaching a date of withdrawal for U.S. troops from Iraq.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and other Pentagon officials have warned that further delays in funding will mean major cuts for the Defense Department and military, Bush said.

Unless Congress acts, DoD soon will have to begin giving furlough notices to about 100,000 civilian employees. Also, the military task force developing ways to better detect and protect troops from roadside bombs will run out of money by early next year, the Army will run out of operations and maintenance money in February, and the Marine Corps will run out of similar funds in March.

Earlier this year, congressional leaders were trying to impose conditions on funds because they said the U.S. strategy in Iraq was not working, Bush said. However, the administration changed its strategy and even those who initially opposed the troop surge now acknowledge it is working, he said.

“It is time for members of Congress to meet their responsibility to our men and women in uniform, and they should stay in session until they pass these emergency funds for our troops,” Bush said.

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