Bush May Have to Defend War-Funds Request

The Bush administration may have a difficult time acquiring its request from Congress for more money for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked for an additional $42 billion, bringing this year's total to $190 billion.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates appeared before a Senate committee yesterday to request more funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Bush administration is asking Congress for an additional $42 billion. That would bring war funding for this year to a grand total of 190 billion. Appropriations Chair Robert Byrd showed his displeasure in a searing opening statement, saying Congress would not, quote, "rubber stamp the president's request."

Senator ROBERT BYRD (Democrat, West Virginia; Chair, Senate Appropriations Committee): If the Congress were to approve the president's revised budget request, total funding for the war in Iraq will exceed $600 billion - 600 billion, all of this for a war, a war that General Petraeus two weeks ago could not say had made Americans safer.

MONTAGNE: In his testimony, Defense Secretary Gates said American troops have, quote, "done far more than what was asked of them, and far more than what was expected under the most trying conditions."

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