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Senate likely to agree to much of Iraq war money

The Senate probably will give Bush most of the money he wants for the Iraq war and hurricane reconstruction.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2006 19:10 IST

The Senate probably will give President George W Bush most of the money he wants for the Iraq war and Gulf Coast hurricane reconstruction while setting aside bipartisan worries about the enormous costs of both.

That's what the House did when it voted 348-71 on Thursday to approve $92 billion in supplemental funds for Iraq and Afghanistan military operations and Hurricane Katrina cleanup, slightly less than what the President sought.

"Our troops need every resource available to stay safe on the ground and fight off insurgent attacks," Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert said. The bill, he added, "recognises the needs on the front lines of the war and responds."

Bush, in a statement, praised the House vote and urged the Senate to follow suit promptly. "This bill will give our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan tools they need to prevail in the war on terror," he said. "The legislation also provides for additional resources for the people of the Gulf Coast as they continue the work of rebuilding their lives and communities."

Despite concerns over massive budget shortfalls, House Republicans and Democrats alike were reluctant to vote against he measure. Doing so could invite election year criticism that lawmakers were short changing troops at war or abandoning hurricane victims.

But 52 Democrats, including long time war opponents, and 19 Republicans, mostly fiscal conservatives, opposed it despite that risk.

The conservative Republicans sought to lessen the impact on the deficit by cutting other programmes in the budget to pay for the hurricane recovery money.

First Published: Mar 17, 2006 16:55 IST