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Congress sends war funding bill to Obama

After weeks of wrangling, the US Congress today sent USD 37 billion emergency funding bill for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to President Barack Obama to sign it into law.

world Updated: Jul 28, 2010 11:31 IST

After weeks of wrangling, the US Congress on Wednesday sent $37 billion emergency funding bill for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to President Barack Obama to sign it into law.

Earlier, the US House of Representatives approved a Senate version of the bill by a 308-114 vote.

The number of Democrats who opposed the funding was more than double the number who voted down a similar measure last year, illustrating the growing divide between Obama and members of his party about Afghanistan, The Washington Post said.

"What has changed in my mind is I am so discouraged at the chances of our commitment in Afghanistan succeeding that I think it's time to say, no more," said Congressman Henry A Waxman.

"I am confident General Petraeus and the troops will succeed in Afghanistan, if given the time, space and resources they need," said Congressman Howard P 'Buck' McKeon, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee who backed the war funding.

"The vote in the House of Representatives shows growing concern with the president's flawed Afghanistan strategy," said Senator Russ Feingold.

"Unfortunately, the outcome of this vote means this war will continue to cost billions of taxpayer dollars, and more importantly, more American lives, for a strategy that is counterproductive in our global fight against al-Qaeda," he said.

"Rather than adding billions to the deficit for an open-ended war in Afghanistan, we should set a flexible timetable for ending our massive and open-ended military presence in Afghanistan," Feingold said.

"By passing this supplemental, we can continue funding a counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan: a clear strategy after years of neglect under President Bush, and a strategy that can prevent Afghanistan from re-emerging as a terrorist-dominated state that poses a threat to the American people," said Senate Majority Leader Steny H Hoyer.

"Under President Obama's renewed focus on Afghanistan, the United States has killed or captured hundreds of terrorist leaders, including much of the top leadership of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. But at the same time, the president has also committed us to a clear timeframe to evaluate the effectiveness of our efforts and to change our approach if it proves ineffective," he said.

"The president is taking a wise and balanced approach in Afghanistan, and it deserves our support. The supplemental also funds our troops as they make a responsible redeployment from Iraq, allowing the Iraqi government to stand on its own two feet," Hoyer said.

First Published: Jul 28, 2010 11:27 IST