signs $162 billion
war spending bill
The bill brings the total spending allocation for the war
against Iraq to more than $650 billion, and the total spending
allocation for the war in Afghanistan to about $200 billion.
From staff and AP wire reports
June 30, 2008
WASHINGTON — President Bush on Monday signed a $162 billion war funding bill that includes doubling college benefits for troops and veterans and provides a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits.
The spending plan also provides $2.7 billion "to help ensure that any state facing a disaster like the recent flooding and tornadoes in the Midwest has access to needed resources."
"With this legislation we send a clear message to all who are serving on the front lines that the nation continues its support," Bush said of troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The legislation allocates money for the wars until mid-2009, when the next president will be in office. It also ends a battle with Bush and Democrats who wanted to delay war funding with demands for a timetable for troop withdrawals.
Bush, who ended up getting the money he wanted, praised Republicans and Democrats for coming together on the bill and "providing these vital funds."
"This bill shows the American people that even in an election year, Republicans and Democrats can come together to support our troops and their families," Bush said in an Oval Office ceremony.
The spending bill will bring to more than $650 billion the amount Congress has provided for the Iraq war since it started more than five years ago.
For operations in Afghanistan, the total is nearly $200 billion, according to congressional officials.
The legislation which is an expansion of the GI bill "will make it easier for our troops to transfer unused education benefits to their spouses and children," Bush said. "It will help us to recruit and reward the best military on the face of the Earth."
bill also includes $465 million for the Merida Initiative — a partnership with
Mexico and nations in Central America to crack down on violent drug trafficking