President Bush to Request $75 Billion for War
According to White House officials, the United States will bear the brunt of the war costs but is looking to other countries to assist with some of the humanitarian costs.
“There is a commitment from nations to help in the humanitarian aspects of helping the Iraqi people with the reconstruction costs that will be incurred,” White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said. “So there will be some effort, but clearly this is going to be something the United States is taking the lead in.”
The supplemental budget reportedly includes approximately $62 billion for a month-long Iraq war and increased funds for the war on terrorism, $4 billion for homeland security, and more than $7.5 billion for foreign aid.
Regional allies — including Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey — are in line for economic aid to compensate for the expected impact of the war on their economies.
Monday’s meeting was a preview of the bill that the president will announce Tuesday during a visit to the Pentagon.
The White House’s emergency supplemental bill will arrive on Capitol Hill while Congress is still debating the more than $2 trillion 2004 budget. Democrats and some Republicans wanted the war budget included in the administration’s proposed 2004 budget, but the administration proposed it after the House had already passed the budget last week.
“I think that the Congress has known all along that a supplemental was coming,” Fleischer said. “There have been any number of discussion in the open media about what the range would be.”
The Senate, which trimmed $100 billion from the total $726 billion President Bush requested for tax cuts, is expected to pass the 2004 budget midweek. The House and Senate are expected to put the reconciliation of the two bills on a fast track, passing a final bill in two weeks.
The budget request comes as the U.S. economy struggles to recover, but Fleischer said that once the war is over, the economy should improve.
“There may still be some underlying economic factors that need to be addressed,” he said. “One of the best ways, in the president’s judgement, to address them is by Congress passing an economic stimulus that helps grow the economy and create jobs.”