US Senate approves $70bn in war funds
The US Senate late Tuesday passed a half-trillion dollar budget bill for 2008 that includes $70bn for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, dealing a major victory to President George W. Bush.
The Senate voted 70-25 to approve the catch-all budget bill, passed late Monday by the House of Representatives, but added extra war funds after the House version included $31bn solely for US-led efforts in Afghanistan but none for Iraq.
The version passed by the Senate does not include any of the restrictions that Democrats hoped to pin on the release of war funds, such as linking them to a withdrawal date for US troops.
Amid deep differences with the Congress over the Iraq war, the White House had threatened to veto the entire spending bill if it contained no funding for Iraq.
Democrats, who took over the US Congress in November 2006 elections fueled by anger at the war in Iraq, have tried without success to use their power of the purse to impose a timetable for withdrawal from the strife-torn country where nearly 4,000 US troops have died since the March 2003 invasion.
Democrats reportedly also gave up several billion dollars' worth of other budget demands rejected by Bush, in order to see the spending measure passed before the year-end recess. (AFP)
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