Bush criticises Democrats over Iraq war funds

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Washington, Nov 18: With Congress and the White House engaged in a long-running feud over war funds, President George W Bush criticized Democrats for holding up money he requested for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Bush is seeking 196 billion dollars for the wars for the fiscal year beginning October 1. Democrats who control Congress want to attach a troop pullout plan to the funding bill for the war but lack enough votes to pass the measure in the Senate.

The White House has warned that Bush would veto any bill with such conditions.

In his weekly radio address, Bush said Congress was ''failing to meet its responsibilities to our troops.'' ''For months, Congress has delayed action on supplemental war funding because some in Congress want to make a political statement about the war,'' he said yesterday criticizing Democrats for leaving for their Thanksgiving break without approving the war funds.

A bill passed this week by the House of Representatives would have given Bush about a quarter of the 196 billion dollars he wants for the wars while setting a goal that all US combat soldiers withdraw from Iraq by December 15, 2008. Republicans stopped the measure in the Senate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would not bring another Iraq war funding bill to the House floor this year.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has warned that without a cash infusion, he would soon make plans to lay off civilian employees, terminate contracts and cut base operations.

But Democrats said Gates told them the money crunch was months away. Bush accused Democrats of trying to micromanage the war. ''We do not need members of Congress telling our commanders what to do,'' he said.

Airing anger at Bush for vetoing domestic-spending bills while seeking billions for Iraq, Democrats have vowed they will not give him a ''blank check'' for the war.


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