Official: Bush to Seek $25B for Iraq War
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Bush administration will ask Congress for an additional $25 billion for U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a House Republican aide said Wednesday, a change from the White House’s earlier plans to not request such money until after the November elections.
White House budget chief Joshua Bolten planned to visit the Capitol on Wednesday to discuss the proposal with House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and other top Republicans, said the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The request comes amid an intensified Iraqi insurrection that has inflicted steady casualties on Americans and forced the Pentagon to plan on keeping more troops in the country next year than the administration had previously planned.
The $25 billion request is for the federal budget year that begins next Oct. 1. In recent weeks, administration officials have raised the possibility that they also will need extra money for the final weeks of this fiscal year as well, with many members of Congress saying they believe billions will be needed.
Last February, President Bush’s budget omitted any funds for U.S. military and reconstruction activities in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bolten said at the time that the administration’s 2005 request for Iraq could be up to $50 billion.
It seemed likely that the $25 billion proposal to be discussed on Wednesday would be only the first portion of funds that will be needed for next year.