U.S. President Barack Obama has sent a supplemental spending request to Congress Thursday, seeking $83.4 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The administration estimates that nearly $80 billion of the requested funds will be used for military operations in the two countries, while the rest will be utilized for operations like securing loose nuclear weapons and helping people in repressive regimes.
In a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Obama called for speed in approving the requested funds, as well as restraint on the part of lawmakers from adding on additional spending to the bill.
In the past, the Congress has moved expeditiously to approve funding for our Armed Forces. I urge the Congress to do so once more, Obama's letter read.
I want the Congress to send me a focused bill, and to do so quickly, the letter went on to urge. When this request returns to me as legislation ready to be signed, it should remain focused on our security.
Obama stressed that the request was the last time he planned to send a war supplemental to Congress.
After 7 years of war, the American people deserve an honest accounting of the cost of our involvement in our ongoing military operations, Obama noted in his letter.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that the supplemental spending request is for continued funding for wars in the two countries once the current funding ends in June, adding that additional money is required to fund the new strategy in Afghanistan and fund the process in Iraq that will lead to a drawdown of all of our combat troops.
We can't wait until the appropriations process is done in September or August... to fund operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in June, Gibbs said.
Obama underlined the planned strategy shift in his letter to Pelosi, stating that the resolve of the soldiers in Afghanistan has not been matched by a comprehensive strategy and sufficient resources.
He added, this funding request will ensure that the full force of the United States -- our military, intelligence, diplomatic, and economic power -- are engaged in an overall effort to defeat al Qaeda and uproot the safe haven from which it plans and trains for attacks on the homeland and on our allies.
In Iraq, Obama said the substantial reduction in violence allows the U.S. to move ahead with what the president termed a responsible drawdown of our combat forces.
The president added that the funding request includes money to promote political and economic stability in the countries in order to help Afghans and Iraqis to protect and sustain their infrastructure, and build their capacity for more responsive and transparent governance.
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