News

Obama sends $60M war-funding request to Congress

Obama sends $60M war-funding request to Congress

WAR SPENDING:U.S. President Barack Obama participates in a town hall meeting at Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis, June 26. Photo: Reuters/Larry Downing

By David Alexander

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House sent Congress a 2015 war-funding request on Thursday of nearly $60 billion, a drop of $20 billion from the current fiscal year after President Barack Obama decided to withdraw all but 9,800 troops from Afghanistan by Dec. 31.

Obama, in a letter to the House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, asked for $58.6 billion for the war in Afghanistan and other overseas military activity, the smallest Pentagon war-funding request in a decade.

In addition to funding the Afghanistan war, the request also seeks $500 million to support Syria’s moderate opposition, $1.5 billion to support stability in the countries bordering Syria that have been flooded with refugees and $140 million for non-operational training in Iraq.

The administration request was about $20 billion less than the current fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, and $20 billion less than the $79.4 billion place-holder figure in its budget submission to Congress in February.

The request to Boehner also included $1.4 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations funds for the State Department, bringing its total request to $7.3 billion. The department had asked for $5.9 billion for overseas operations in its February budget.

The Overseas Contingency Operations request on Thursday included $5 billion for a new Counterterrorism Partnership Fund and $1 billion for a European Reassurance Initiative. About $5 billion of the total would fall under the Pentagon’s budget and the remainder under the State Department.

The White House said the counterterrorism fund would be used to respond to emerging threats by “empowering and enabling our partners around the globe.”

About $2.5 billion would go to train and equip nations fighting terrorist groups that threaten the United States and its allies. The fund, for example, would cover the cost of sending U.S. commandos to train troops in other countries.

The administration proposed spending up to $140 million to provide assistance to Baghdad, including non-operational training to help Iraqi forces address shortfalls in intelligence gathering, air sovereignty, logistics, maintenance and combined arms operations.

Senator Carl Levin, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, welcomed the funding request, saying the $500 million to support Syrian opposition members matched language supported by members of his panel.

Representative Buck McKeon, Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said his panel would examine the request closely, especially the new counterterrorism fund, but warned: “Congress is not a rubber stamp.”

(Additional reporting by Steve Holland and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

Recent Headlines

8 hours ago in Entertainment

REVIEW: ‘How To Be Single’ feels the same while trying too hard to be different

22-overlay-9

"How to Be Single" makes a valiant attempt to send up rom-com clichés but it borrows so much from other, better movies that you start to wonder if the film’s title should be "How to Commit Larceny."

9 hours ago in Music

Charles Kelley is a dad

charleskelleycassiekelley

The "Need You Now" singer and his wife Cassie McConnell Kelley welcomed son Ward Charles Kelley on Thursday.

11 hours ago in Entertainment

‘Star Wars’ producers face charges in Harrison Ford’s on-set accident

18-overlay-7

The "Indiana Jones" star broke his leg when the door of the Millennium Falcon fell on him during filming in 2014.

11 hours ago in Lifestyle

More Americans turning to Internet to play Cupid

tinderreuters

Just in time for Valentine's Day, a survey shows that more Americans are looking for love through online dating, with more than four times as many young adults using mobile apps than in 2013.

15 hours ago in Entertainment

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ headed for Broadway debut

mockingbird

Harper Lee's classic novel is coming to Broadway for the first time in a new stage version written by "West Wing" writer Aaron Sorkin.