$94.5 billion emergency funding bill sent to White House
June 16, 2006
WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday approved $94.5 billion in emergency funds to pay for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, sending the measure to the White House for final approval.
House members approved the supplemental budget request by a 351-67 vote Tuesday; the Senate OK’d the bill 98-1. The measure sets aside $70.4 billion solely for the global war on terror, including $10.3 billion to cover military pay and bonus expenses.
Pentagon officials had warned that without the emergency funding military personnel could begin seeing shortfalls in programs and equipment as early as next month.
The Army has already dismissed some temporary civilian support personnel in anticipation of funding shortfalls, and a Defense Department spokesman said last week that without the emergency funds, the Joint IED Defeat Organization would not start any new initiatives to fight roadside bombs.
Congress set aside $2 billion specifically for those anti-IED efforts in the measure.
The money is expected to close the military’s funding gap between now and the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30. About $375 million would pay for ongoing recruiting and retention incentives, and $538.5 million would go for body armor and other protection equipment.
The measure would also provide $4.9 billion for training and equipping Afghan and Iraqi security forces.
House and Senate members had aimed to complete their work on the supplemental package before Memorial Day, but conflicts over the total cost delayed its passage.
The bill also includes $19.8 billion for relief efforts related to Hurricane Katrina, $2.3 billion for pandemic flu prevention programs, and $1.9 billion for border protection costs.
If approved by the president, the new spending bill would push the total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over $400 billion.