President Barack Obama has formally asked lawmakers for billions more dollars to fund US military operations abroad. Most of the extra money would go to the missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"Nearly 95%" of the money is for Afghanistan and Iraq
US President Barack Obama has requested an extra 83.4 billion dollars (over 63 billion euros) to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this year. In a letter to his top Democratic ally in the House of Representatives, speaker Nancy Pelosi, Obama says the money is necessary to counter threats from Al-Qaeda and a resurgent Taliban. He called for the emergency spending measure to be passed through the house as quickly as possible.
"We face a security situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan that demands urgent attention," he writes in the letter. "The Taliban is resurgent and Al-Qaeda threatens America from its safe have along the Afghan-Pakistan border."
The supplemental funding package also includes items not related to the two conflicts, including security and counter-narcotics operations on the Mexican border and around 7.1 billion dollars in international aid, with Pakistan, the Gaza Strip, Georgia and the UN among the major beneficiaries.
However, Obama stressed that "nearly 95% of these funds will be used to support our men and women in uniform as they help the people of Iraq to take responsibility for their own future - and work to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan."
Likely to pass
Some estimates say the US has spent almost a trillion dollars on war since 9/11
If the supplementary request is approved that would increase the funds set aside for war by Washington in 2009 to roughly 150 billion dollars. As a "supplemental" request, this cash injection would fall outside the standard US budget.
The supplemental request is expected to pass through the House of Representatives with relative ease, as Obama can probably rely on many opposition Republicans to support the bill. However, the measure has drawn criticism from the ranks of Obama's Democrat party.
The administration of former President George W. Bush was widely criticized for using such supplemental requests to fund the wars. Both Democrats and Republicans said such urgent requests faced less scrutiny than the regular budget.
Obama promised that Thrusday's request was "the last planned supplemental".