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Bush spells out $70 billion war-funding request

  • Story Highlights
  • President requests $70 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • $45 billion would pay for wars from October 2008 to spring 2009
  • $2.2 billion for additional fuel costs due to higher gas prices
  • Democrats want to add a troop withdrawal timetable to spending bills
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush asked Congress Friday for $70 billion to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan amid a developing dispute between the White House and congressional Democrats over Iraq spending.

The supplemental spending bills would pay for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through the spring of 2009.

Democrats are considering making war funding contingent on a timeline for withdrawal. They also are threatening to add domestic spending to the measure.

Bush has said he would veto such provisions, and has won previous showdowns with Democrats over timelines.

If the request is passed, the total spending for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as antiterrorism operations since September 11, 2001, would total $875 billion, The Associated Press reported, citing congressional analysts.

The bulk of the new money Bush requested -- more than $45 billion -- would be dedicated to combat operations in the two theaters, but it also would include $3.7 billion for Afghan security forces and $2 billion for their Iraqi counterparts.

Bush also requested $3 billion for technology to counteract improvised explosives, which have been among the biggest killers of U.S. troops in Iraq. Another $3 billion is for "classified activities."

Bush also asked for $2.2 billion for "projected increased fuel costs," as even the military feels the rise in gas prices.

The supplemental request includes "$1.7 billion for the Commander's Emergency Response Program in Iraq and Afghanistan to enable commanders to address local populations' urgent needs and gain support in the fight against insurgents."

The remainder of the $70 billion goes to various other line items, including buying more unmanned aerial vehicles, emergency food and foreign aid to Pakistan and other countries.

The request fills in the details of a $70 billion placeholder request Bush sent to Congress earlier this year.

"This amount is already factored into the FY 2009 budget projections and would not increase the deficit," Bush said in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, accompanying the request.

The funds are intended as a "bridge" to last from October 2008, the start of the 2009 fiscal year, through the spring of 2009.

Friday's request comes on top of a separate request for $108 billion in war funding for the remainder of this fiscal year. Congress is expected to vote on the two bills together. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Craig Broffman, Ted Barrett and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

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