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President Wants $80 Billion More for Afghanistan, Iraq

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said further details of the president’s request would be provided later Tuesday, but congressional aides said the package would amount to about $80 billion mostly for U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Congress approved $25 billion for the wars last summer, and the latest request would bring the total earmarked for the conflicts and the global effort to fight terrorism past $300 billion, including $25 billion to rebuild the two countries, according to the Associated Press.

“We have talked about how we would be coming back for additional resources for our troops,” McClellan said.

Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office predicted the government will accumulate another $855 billion in deficits from 2006 through 2016, which is almost two-thirds smaller than the $2.3 trillion 10-year deficit that congressional budget analysts predicted last fall, reported the AP.

The CBO also estimates that this year’s budget shortfall will be $368 billion rather than the $348 billion deficit predicted last fall. If the shortfall proves accurate, it would be the third largest behind last year’s $412 billion and 2003’s $377 billion budget gap.

The CBO’s newest projections, however, do not include costs associated with Iraq and other conflicts, or President Bush’s proposals to reform Social Security, which could cost $1 trillion to $2 trillion, or to extend his tax cuts, which could cost $1.8 trillion.

Congressional aides said the bulk of the $80 billion supplemental request for 2005 is expected to be for the Army, which is bearing the brunt of the fighting in Iraq. It also is expected to include $1.5 billion to build a U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

The package may also include funds for newly elected leaders the United States hopes to call allies: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko, and funding for the countries in the Indian Ocean hit by the Dec. 26 tsunamis.

President Bush plans to unveil his full 2006 budget proposal on Feb. 7.

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