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Bush Wants $75 Billion to Fight Iraq War, Terrorism

Standing in front of a display of military service flags, President Bush on Tuesday sent a supplemental budget request to Congress asking for $74.7 billion to pay for the war against Iraq, most of which will go to fund 30 days of combat to oust Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

"We cannot know the duration of this war, yet we know it's outcome: We will prevail," Bush told military personnel at the Pentagon. "The Iraqi regime will be disarmed, the Iraqi regime will be ended. The Iraqi people will be free and our world will be more secure and peaceful."

Not only are there more than 200,000 U.S. troops engaged in Operation Iraqi Freedom, but there are also soldiers taking part in Operation Valiant Strike in Afghanistan, as well as other parts of the world "to protect and maintain the peace," Bush reminded the country.

All are "bound together by a great cause -- to defend the American people and advance the universal hope of freedom," Bush said.

But maintaining these global anti-terrorism efforts means more money, he said.

The bulk of the request, $62.6 billion, will support U.S. troops both in Iraq and other operations related to the broader war on terrorism.

The request also provides $4.2 billion for domestic security and about $7.8 billion for aid to Israel, Afghanistan and other United States allies and money to increase security for American diplomats abroad.

The rest of the money will go to humanitarian aid and reconstruction in a "free Iraq," the president said.

"This nation and our coalition partners are committed to making sure the Iraqi citizens who have suffered under a brutal tyrant have the food and medicine needed as soon as possible," Bush said of the Iraqi people.

The package will help pay for transportation of forces to the Persian Gulf region, supplying troops and maintaining equipment. It also will allow the Pentagon to replace cruise missiles, smart bombs and other high-tech munitions, and provide combat pay to troops.

In the chunk of change assigned to the Pentagon, $30.3 billion goes to "coercive diplomacy," $13.1 billion is for military conflict, $12 billion for stability and transition and $7.2 billion for reconstitution, according to an official breakdown given to reporters by defense officials.

Coercive diplomacy refers to the amount of money spent prior to March 20, or the beginning of the war, on pre-combat work with coalition partners and transporting troops and equipment overseas.

The $13.1 billion refers to the actual fight.

Congressional aides said the request was based on the assumption that it will take 30 days to oust Saddam, after which the United States will send humanitarian aid and help rebuild the embattled Persian Gulf country.

"We have anticipated a relatively short, highly intense period of conflict," said a senior defense official.

Some money will go toward making sure a stable post-Saddam structure is put in place. That structure will be dictated by internal resistance and the level of support the coalition receives from the Iraqi population. The $12 billion also includes $489.3 million for oil field and facility repair and firefighting.

The $7.2 billion will go mainly to depot maintenance, spare parts, and, in some respects, replacement of materials expended during the conflict.

The monies would be part of a supplement to the 2003 fiscal budget. Saying "the need is urgent," Bush wants congressional leaders to craft his request in a bill by the start of the Easter recess, April 11.

He cautioned lawmakers not to tack on other unrelated spending items, saying, "Business as usual on Capitol Hill can't go on during this war."

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., told reporters on Capitol Hill that Congress would try to meet that timetable.

Some Democratic leaders expressed wariness.

"There is no question we are going to provide every dollar," for the war in Iraq, said Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.

However, "the word flexibility was used. That gave me some concern. I took it to mean that they would be requesting a blank check in a way," he said.

"I understand we are in a war over there and we need flexibility but Congress needs to be in a position to know what it's doing," he added. "I feel that Congress has a duty to the American people to look at this bill, find out as much as possible about the details."

Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he will hold hearings as soon as possible.

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., said the allocation for homeland security dollars "doesn't seem to me to be sufficient," and that she would push for closer to $7 billion to $10 billion to help localities fight terrorism on the homefront.

The president requested $500 million to improve the FBI's domestic counterterrorism efforts and another $500 million for the Coast Guard. Another $250 million will go to a presidential discretionary fund for anti-terror activities and $125 million for Congress to continue its operations in an emergency affecting the Capitol.

Foreign aid will include $1 billion for grants and for federal backing of up to $9 billion in guaranteed loans for Israel; $1.1 billion for Jordan; $1 billion for Turkey; less than $1 billion for Egypt and other funds for countries including Oman and Bahrain. Afghanistan would get $400 million for humanitarian aid and economic development.

After leaving the White House Monday, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said there was no argument over the funds necessary for military operations overseas, but he was concerned about long-term aid.

"No one is going to leave the troops out there without money, but we also have to talk about our long term commitment," he told reporters." The success of this operation depends on how we handle that."

Some members of Congress have also used the price tag for war as a reason not to support the president's tax-cut package. The package was included in the House and Senate budget resolutions, which were passed late last week, but did not include new war monies.

The full 10-year, $726 billion in cuts survived the House vote, while the Senate passed a $626 billion package. The resolutions serve as a blueprint for the budget. Appropriators must still determine how to spend the money.

About 70 percent of Americans support war, though hope that it would be quick started to wane over the weekend, according to several polls published Sunday.

Emphasizing support for the troops, Bush plans to travel to a U.S. military installation at midweek to remind troops about the importance of their mission, said two senior administration officials.

White House officials said Bush believes he can get easy approval for his war request amid a growing surge of public support for the war and for the troops abroad.

Fox News' Ian McCaleb and Liza Porteus and The Associated Press contributed to this report.