House and Senate appropriators gave President Bush most of what he asked for and agreed on an $87.5-billion package, mostly for U.S. military operations in Iraq and rebuilding that country's infrastructure. The measure includes about $13 billion for physical reconstruction in Iraq, about $1 billion less than Bush had sought.
The legislation was cleared on Oct. 29 by a joint conference committee and now goes to the House and Senate floors, where approval is expected.
The $87.5-billion total is $500 million more than Bush had proposed.The lawmakers handed the President another victory when they rejected a proposal to distribute part of the reconstruction aid as loans. By a 16-13 vote, the conferees supported Bush's proposal and decided to provide all the funds in the form of grants.
The conference agreement's $13-billion reconstruction portion includes:
--$5.6 billion for electric power projects;
--$1.9 billion for oil infrastructure
--$4.3 billion for water resources and sanitation
--$500 million for airports, rail and telecommunications
--$370 for roads, bridges and buildings
--$793 million for health care, including clinics
The spending bill also includes $1.2 billion for relief and rebuilding in Afghanistan, $400 million more than Bush proposed.
The lion's share of the bill is $64.7 billion for the U.S. military, mostly for the operations in Iraq, $400 million less than the President's request.