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Congress okays Iraq war funds

world Updated: May 25, 2007 11:40 IST
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A divided US Congress on Thursday approved $100 billion to keep fighting the war in Iraq, as Democrats pledged to resurrect failed attempts to force President George W Bush to withdraw troops.

Passage of the legislation capped a four-month struggle between Bush and the new Democratic-led Congress over the increasingly unpopular Iraq war, now in its fifth year.

Underscoring Democratic division, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California voted against it and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada voted for it.

Three Democratic senators running for president -- Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Barack Obama of Illinois and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut -- opposed providing money with no withdrawal deadlines. Joseph Biden of Delaware, also a presidential hopeful, voted yes.

With this latest installment, the United States will have allocated more than $565 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, according to the Congressional Research Service. Most of the money has gone to fight in Iraq.

Bush pleaded for patience but warned of more tough times ahead. "It could be a bloody -- it could be a very difficult August," he told reporters at the White House.

He also made clear September would be an important period, when the US commander in Iraq, Gen David Petraeus, will report on the impact of the troop buildup and make a recommendation on how to proceed.

The House voted 280-142 for the emergency funding bill, while the Senate passed it 80-14.