WASHINGTON: The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday approved passage of the Defense Department’s supplemental war-funding bill, most of which will be used to pay for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Video
President Barack Obama and Pentagon officials said passage of the nearly $59 billion supplemental was critical for supporting overseas-deployed troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill now awaits the president’s signature.
Pentagon Spokesman Geoff Morrell said Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates applauded passage of the bill, which the Senate had passed last week.
“Over the past several weeks, we have had to take extraordinary measures to fund our military operations around the world this late in the fiscal year,” Morrell said in a statement, “but thankfully the money provided in the supplemental ensures that we will be able to continue the drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq while we plus-up forces in Afghanistan as part of our efforts to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida.”
Most of the $58.8 billion contained in the supplemental will be used for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The supplemental also includes $13.38 billion for Vietnam veterans’ Agent Orange exposure programs; $5.1 billion for disaster relief to the Federal Emergency Management Agency; $2.9 billion for Haitian earthquake relief; $178 million for the Army Corps of Engineers to respond to natural disasters; and $50 million to improve port facility access in Guam.