WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (search) asked Congress Wednesday to approve the Bush administration's request for $5.8 billion to fight terrorism and the slightly more than $1 billion to help bankroll United Nations' (search) peacekeeping missions around the world.
Separately, Rice plugged the administration's proposal for an additional $750 million this year for other countries that assisted the United States in war and reconstruction in Afghanistan (search) and Iraq.
Rice was testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the same panel where she had a tougher-than-expected confirmation just a few weeks ago.
In Iraq (search), Rice said, the United States wants to spend $360 million next year for economic assistance "targeted toward helping the Iraqi government to create a functioning democracy and a justice system," among other services and improvements.
Separately, the administration is asking for an additional $690 million to continue U.S. mission operations in Iraq this year and $658 million to build a new embassy compound in Baghdad.
Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and the new chairman of the House Appropriations Committee said lawmakers may not quickly approve billions in foreign aid and State Department spending that Bush sought this week in a special emergency appropriations bill.
The remarks were the first specific indication that parts of Bush's $81.9 billion "supplemental" package for financing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other U.S. efforts abroad might be in jeopardy in the Republican-run Congress.
DeLay, R-Texas, said some of Bush's foreign aid proposals "probably do not qualify" for the rapid treatment the measure is likely to receive.
The committee chairman, Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., said more than $4 billion of Bush's proposals would be "carefully scrutinized." He said that included money the president requested for training Iraqi and Afghan security forces, for U.S. contributions for international peacekeeping expenses and for construction of an embassy in Baghdad.