WASHINGTON – Republican lawmakers expecting a Bush administration request for an additional $25 billion for U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan say the money will not be an "emergency supplemental" but "additional spending" from money already being made available.
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (search) said Wednesday that the money is set aside but not assigned, and will be "reprogrammed" or "expedited." The money is to come out of the new fiscal year budget that starts on Oct. 1.
"It's money for soldiers," DeLay told reporters.
The president issued a statement on Wednesday saying that the money will come from a "contingency reserve fund" from next year's budget to make sure troops on the ground have everything they need. He made no bones about the fact that the administration would make a supplemental request in the future.
"While we do not know the precise costs for operations next year, recent developments on the ground and increased demands on our troops indicate the need to plan for contingencies," Bush said. "As my administration has previously said, we will pursue a full FY 2005 supplemental request when we can better estimate precise costs."
A House Republican aide told Fox News that the $25 billion will be requested in another month, rather than right away, and will help with the extended operation in Iraq as the nation's governance is turned over to Iraqi authorities.
The money is being made available earlier than expected because needs are greater and troops are staying longer, DeLay said. He said he would expect the White House to make another request next spring.
Originally, the White House had said it would not request any additional money until after the election in November, but DeLay said it was decided that the money should be secured and allocated before Congress left for its October adjournment.
White House budget chief Joshua Bolten (search) and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz (search) went to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to present the proposal to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and other top Republicans.
Some White House aides have argued for weeks that a supplemental budget request is needed before the next fiscal year. They suggested that Democrats and Republicans would not engage in a fight over the money if the military made a straightforward request for cash to help the troops. They also argued that the fight for additional funding this year should come sooner than later, when the nation will be focused on political arguments leading up to the election.
U.S. troops have faced increased violence from Iraqi insurgents trying to drive the coalition out of the country before the turnover of government now slated for June 30. The Pentagon has said it will keep more troops in the country next year than the administration had previously planned because of the uptick in violence.
Wednesday's announcement comes as President Bush appealed on satellite television to Arab viewers not to discredit all U.S. troops just because a handful of them had participated in abuses of Iraqi prisoners held by American soldiers in Iraq. The Pentagon has faced widespread criticism for not curbing the abusive actions of some soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison until news media began asking questions.
Last February, President Bush's budget omitted any funds for U.S. military and reconstruction activities in Iraq and Afghanistan next year. Bolten said at the time that the administration's 2005 request for Iraq could be up to $50 billion.
Congress and Bush enacted an $87.5 billion package last November for this year's U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In April 2003, a $79.5 billion measure was approved for that year's activities.
Fox News' Jim Mills and The Associated Press contributed to this report.