House sends $60 billion war-funding request to Congress
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[June 27, 2014]
By David Alexander
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House
sent Congress a 2015 war-funding request on Thursday of nearly $60
billion, a drop of $20 billion from the current fiscal year after
President Barack Obama decided to withdraw all but 9,800 troops from
Afghanistan by Dec. 31.
Obama, in a letter to the House of Representatives Speaker John
Boehner, asked for $58.6 billion for the war in Afghanistan and
other overseas military activity, the smallest Pentagon war-funding
request in a decade.
In addition to funding the Afghanistan war, the request also seeks
$500 million to support Syria's moderate opposition, $1.5 billion to
support stability in the countries bordering Syria that have been
flooded with refugees and $140 million for non-operational training
The administration request was about $20 billion less than the
current fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, and $20 billion less
than the $79.4 billion place-holder figure in its budget submission
to Congress in February.
The request to Boehner also included $1.4 billion in Overseas
Contingency Operations funds for the State Department, bringing its
total request to $7.3 billion. The department had asked for $5.9
billion for overseas operations in its February budget.
The Overseas Contingency Operations request on Thursday included $5
billion for a new Counterterrorism Partnership Fund and $1 billion
for a European Reassurance Initiative. About $5 billion of the total
would fall under the Pentagon's budget and the remainder under the
The White House said the counterterrorism fund would be used to
respond to emerging threats by "empowering and enabling our partners
around the globe."
About $2.5 billion would go to train and equip nations fighting
terrorist groups that threaten the United States and its allies. The
fund, for example, would cover the cost of sending U.S. commandos to
train troops in other countries.
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The administration proposed spending up to $140 million to provide
assistance to Baghdad, including non-operational training to help
Iraqi forces address shortfalls in intelligence gathering, air
sovereignty, logistics, maintenance and combined arms operations.
Senator Carl Levin, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed
Services Committee, welcomed the funding request, saying the $500
million to support Syrian opposition members matched language
supported by members of his panel.
Representative Buck McKeon, Republican chairman of the House Armed
Services Committee, said his panel would examine the request
closely, especially the new counterterrorism fund, but warned:
"Congress is not a rubber stamp."
(Additional reporting by Steve Holland and Patricia Zengerle;
Editing by Mohammad Zargham)
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