President Bush has signed a supplemental spending bill that provides $165 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, plus about $11 billion for military and non-defense construction programs, including aid for Midwestern states hit hard by flooding.
But the spending package, enacted on June 30, didn't include all the domestic funding that some lawmakers, particularly in the Senate, had desired. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) said that in July his panel "will consider a second supplemental to deal with the Midwest floods, Hurricane Katrina and to make critical investments in America."
One item not in the final version was $455 million in highway funding that the Senate had included in an earlier version of the bill. It would have gone to the Federal Highway Administration to reimburse states for repairing roads and bridges after storms and other natural disasters.
After signing the spending measure, Bush said that it "provides necessary funds to support our troops as they conduct military operations in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in other theaters in the war on terror."
The White House had opposed non-defense funding in the bill as it made its way through the House and Senate, but Bush said that it "includes agreed-upon funding for other critical national priorities," and cited its $2.65 billion for Midwest disaster relief. He also said it "holds overall discretionary spending within the sensible limits that I requested."
The bill's construction funds include $5.8 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers to continue work on levees and other flood-control projects in Louisiana. Funding would become available after Oct. 1
The Corps also will receive $606 million of the bill's $2.65 billion the bill provides for Midwest flood relief. The Corps allotment includes $298 million for its operations and maintenance account, $227 million for flood control, $62 million for construction and $18 million for its Mississippi River and tributaries account.
The package also contains $4 billion for Dept. of Defense construction, including $1.3 billion for the Base Realignments and Closure program. In addition, the bill has $396 million for Dept. of Veterans Affairs polytrauma centers.