WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – U.S. President George W. Bush is preparing to ask Congress for as much as $50 billion in additional funding for the war in Iraq, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing a White House official.
The request signals increasing White House confidence that it can fend off mounting congressional pressure to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, the Post reported.
The additional funds would come on top of about $460 billion in the fiscal 2008 defense budget and $147 billion in a pending supplemental bill to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Post said.
The request is expected to be announced next month after the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker report to Congress on the state of the war, the newspaper said.
Asked about the Post report, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said no decision had yet been made about funding requests. “We have said previously that after Gen. Petraeus reports we will be evaluating what adjustments may need to be made to our pending FY 08 (fiscal 2008) supplemental request,” Stanzel said. “I would decline to speculate on this, as Gen. Petraeus has not testified nor has any decision been made at this stage about whether, when or what specific changes would be made.”