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Bush signs budget with Pakistan funds

world Updated: Dec 27, 2007 09:24 IST
PTI
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US President George W Bush has signed a $550 billion catch-all budget bill for 2008 that includes $250 millions for the various funding projects in Pakistan.

The President signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2008 also known as the Omnibush Spending Bill shortly after boarding Air Force One on his way to Crawford Texas where he will spend time until January 1, 2008.

Originally the bill had earmarked $300 millions for Islamabad but lawmakers have withheld $50 millions until Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice send a report to Capitol Hill saying that Pakistan was restoring democratic rights.

"We continue to be disappointed with Congress's addiction to earmarks. And soon the President will outline his fiscal year 2009 budget proposal, which will hold the line on spending, keep taxes low and continue us on the path to a balanced budget," White House Deputy Press Secretary Scot Stanzel said at a briefing aboard Air Force One.

Last week a senior State department official has said that the Bush administration is "comfortable" on the requirements of Congress pertaining to assistance to Pakistan and clarified that the $50 millions placed on hold by Capitol Hill is only a reporting requirement, not a "certification".

"The requirements of the Congress are ones we're comfortable with and we look forward to reporting to the Congress and having a dialogue with them. I don't think there is a difference between the government and Congress on these issues," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher told a group of reporters.

Boucher also clarified that the congressional requirement will not affect the Pakistan F-16 programme.

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