Congress proposes #036;80 billion war plan

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 13, 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) - Eager to show solidarity with U.S. troops, Congress on Saturday sent President Bush a nearly $80 billion plan to pay for the initial costs of the war in Iraq and its aftermath.

Bush was expected to quickly sign the measure. It also includes money for fighting terrorism, increasing homeland security and providing help for the airline industry.

''In the end, we had a job to do to help our troops, and we did that job well,'' said House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.

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The House, meeting in a rare Saturday session, passed the legislation by voice vote. The Senate endorsed the package late Friday, ahead of a two-week Easter vacation. Both chambers were nearly empty at the time of the votes.

Lawmakers in both parties moved quickly on the president's request, which he made just three weeks ago.

Bush asked for $74.7 billion to meet the costs of the war that were not budgeted. That figure grew to $78.5 billion with the addition of $2.9 billion to help airline companies and for other projects pushed by lawmakers.

Bush said in a statement after passage that the legislation offers ''the resources necessary to win the war and help secure enduring freedom and democracy for the Iraqi people.''