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Differences Delay War Spending Bill

April 29, 2005

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Congressional negotiators have a tentative deal to pay for the U.S. Embassy in Iraq but could not resolve all their differences on a spending bill, delaying approval of $81 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan for at least a few weeks.

As a result, President Bush probably will not get the measure until mid-May. The Senate planned to be on break next week, returning to work on May 9.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld had pressed negotiators to act quickly, saying that the Pentagon needed the money to pay for combat and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan by May. Lawmakers say the Pentagon can borrow money from other accounts for at least a couple weeks.

Congress already has passed four emergency spending measures to pay for war costs since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The latest bill would give the president much of the money he requested, with most of the dollars going to military operations.

Congressional aides say a tentative agreement would include $592 billion for an embassy in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital. The Senate had included the money, but the House did not want to fund the construction of a fortified diplomatic compound.

The final amount is below the $658 million that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had wanted for it.

Aides, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the legislation is not yet final, say lawmakers also had a preliminary deal to some immigration measures. The aides declined to provide details.

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