Hill GOP to Block Add-Ons to War Bill

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Byline: Sean Lengell, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Capitol Hill Republicans say they will unite to block Democratic efforts to attach billions of dollars for domestic programs onto a bill intended to supplement war spending efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan through September 2009.

House Democratic leaders unveiled Tuesday a $184 billion emergency funding package that includes more than $10 billion for unemployment benefits, a troop-withdrawal mandate and cuts about $3.5 billion from President Bush's war-funding request.

The bill could hit the House floor as early as today.

"It shouldn't be a surprise that congressional Democrats are once again trying to use a critical troop-funding bill to pass billions of dollars of unrelated government spending," said House Minority Whip Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican. "But what is a surprise is that they'd knowingly attempt to divert money away from our fighting men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan to finance their reckless spending bonanza."

During a meeting between congressional Republican leaders and President Bush yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told House Republicans that "I'll stick with you" if they fought the Democratic-crafted bill, said a House Republican aide.

With 40 votes being sufficient to threaten filibusters and block contentious legislation in the Senate, the 49-member Republican caucus has been able to derail past Democratic efforts to limit the Iraq war.

President Bush has said he will veto any package that includes more than his overall $108 billion request - $100 billion of which would fund military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan through Sept. 30.

"I support a $108 billion supplemental without any strings ... we're

going to work toward that goal," said Mr Bush yesterday after his meeting with House Republican leaders.

The war supplemental bill may be one of the last major spending bills Congress will consider this year, so Democrats used it as a vehicle to address what they said are vital domestic concerns. …