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

in Sports

Royals beats Giants 7-2, even World Series 1-all

Fresh
Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014.

The Kansas City Royals beat the San Francisco Giants 7-2 Wednesday night to even the World Series at one game apiece.

in Sports

Vegas police probe complaint against Blake Griffin

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin put the ball to his face as he reacts to being called for a foul against the Sacramento Kings during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Saturday, April 12, 2014. The Clippers won 117-101.

Police are investigating a man's allegation that Clippers star Blake Griffin attacked him in a Las Vegas nightclub during the weekend.

in Sports

NBA owners vote down lottery reform

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addresses the media during a news conference in New York, Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Silver announced that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life by the league in response to racist comments the league says he made in a recorded conversation.

NBA owners have voted down proposed changes to the league's draft lottery system, staving off efforts to curb tanking for the time being.

in Sports

Nine UNC employees fired or disciplined in scandal

University of North Carolina Chancellor Carol Folt, left, and President Tom Ross prepare to address members of the media with results of an investigation into academic irregularities following a special joint meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014.

The probe found that nearly half of the more than 3,100 students enrolled in classes they didn't have to show up for, were athletes.

in Local Sports

Four Whatcom County prep football teams in AP state poll

Prep footballs

The Lynden Lions fell in the polls follow a tough loss to Ferndale. Find out where the Lions and the other local teams check in.