US Congress sends Obama Afghan war funding bill

WASHINGTON, July 27, 2010 (AFP) - US lawmakers on Tuesday approved an urgent funding measure to pay for President Barack Obama's troop "surge" to turn around the faltering Afghan campaign, sending it to him to sign into law.

The House of Representatives voted 308-114 to pass the legislation, which includes some 37 billion dollars to pay for the conflict in Iraq and for another 30,000 US troops to go to Afghanistan under Obama's new strategy.

The funding brings the amount of money the US Congress has appropriated for the wars to over one trillion dollars since late 2001.

US Staff Sergeant Julio Jurado of 1st Platoon Bravo Troop of 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry checks the aim of his rifle in his tent at a forward operating base in Dand district of Kandahar Province in Afghanistan on July 27, 2010. AFP

The legislation carried a total price tag of nearly 59 billion dollars, including 37 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan, 5.1 billion for natural disaster response in the United States, and 2.9 billion to aid relief efforts in Haiti.

It also included 13.4 billion dollars for Vietnam war veterans exposed to the toxic defoliant Agent Orange.

After weeks of delay, the White House's Democratic allies in the House accepted a Senate-passed version of the measure, stripped of social spending notably aimed at saving the jobs of teachers facing the axe amid state belt-tightening in the sour US economy.

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