$162 billion war spending plan becomes law

June 30, 2008 7:44:26 AM PDT
President Bush on Monday signed legislation to pay for the war operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for the rest of his presidency and beyond, hailing the $162 billion plan as a rare product of bipartisan cooperation.

"This bill shows the American people that even in an election year, Republicans and Democrats can come together to support our troops and their families," Bush said in an Oval Office ceremony.

Bush made clear to thank members of both parties in Congress, singling out some sponsors of the long-delayed, compromise measure for praise.

The legislation will bring to more than $650 billion the amount Congress has provided for the Iraq war since it began more than five years ago. For operations in Afghanistan, the total is nearly $200 billion, according to congressional officials.

"Our nation has no greater responsibility than to support our men in women in uniform - especially because we're at war," Bush said.

The package approved by Congress includes a doubling of GI Bill college benefits for troops and veterans. It also provides a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits and $2.7 billion in emergency flood relief for the Midwest.

The bill will fund the wars well into next year, when their fate will be in the hands of Bush's successor.


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