Bush Asks for Nearly $75 Billion to Assist War Effort

Article excerpt

DAYS AFTER THE United States launched a military attack against Iraq, the Bush administration submitted a nearly $75 billion emergency budget request March 25 to Congress to help cover war expenses during fiscal year 2003. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said that additional war costs would be covered in future spending bills.

Rumsfeld told lawmakers March 27 that although the total cost of the war is unknowable at this point, $30.3 billion of the emergency request has already been spent or committed.

If Congress approves the request unaltered, the largest portion, almost $63 billion, would flow to the Pentagon. Most of the Pentagon's slice, $53 billion, is devoted to mobilization costs for the Iraq war. An additional $3.7 billion would be used to replace munitions, such as laser-guided bombs and Patriot missile interceptors, used in the fighting. Another $1.1 billion is tabbed for procuring additional weapons and military equipment, including chemical and biological detection and decontamination gear. Classified activities would receive $1.7 billion.

The budget request reflects the Bush administration's confidence that its military attack against Iraq will succeed. In addition to $2.4 billion for an Iraq relief and reconstruction fund, the proposal would authorize the president to divert as much as $50 million from Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) programs to secure and destroy Russian weapons of mass destruction. The money could be used to establish similar projects in countries outside of the former Soviet Union, and the request singles out Iraq as a potential case. …