|03-14-2007, 12:30 AM||#1|
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Cuts to support more troops
White House lists cuts to pay for more troops
By David Jackson, USA TODAY
BOGOTA, Colombia — President Bush wants to pay for his plan to send 8,200 more U.S. troops to Iraq and Afghanistan by cutting money for agriculture, education and other programs, budget records show.
Bush's $3.2 billion plan, submitted to Congress over the weekend, includes 3,500 new troops for Afghanistan to train that nation's army and to fight the resurgent Taliban.
The plan would also send 4,700 more troops to Iraq to support the 21,500 additional combat troops Bush has already ordered to Baghdad and Anbar province.
More than $2.5 billion of the request is for Iraq, about $500 million for Afghanistan. Bush also asked for $100 million for a counterterrorism program in Pakistan.
New troops in Afghanistan will participate in "training and embedding missions," Bush told reporters Sunday after a meeting with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.
Bush said Sunday that his Jan. 10 announcement that he was committing 21,500 more troops were to Iraq referred only to combat forces.
"Those combat troops are going to need some support," he said. Bush said he hopes the Democratic-controlled Congress will fund their mission "without any strings attached."
Some of the deployments can be financed by cutting "lower priority federal programs," according to a document issued March 9 by the Office of Management and Budget.
a submission to Congress.
Most affected by the cuts are the departments of Education, Agriculture, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development.
Some of the offsets come from programs Bush has tried to kill before, such as the Department of Education's "Enhancing Education Through Technology" and "Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership" grant programs.
The newly announced deployment for Afghanistan comes a month after Bush warned that the Taliban has not given up efforts to reclaim power, more than five years after the fundamentalist Islamic militia was ousted by U.S. and allied forces in October 2001. The Taliban had harbored the al-Qaeda organization that carried out the Sept. 11 attacks.
In a budget document, White House budget director Rob Portman said the deployment in Afghanistan is "in anticipation of increased combat operations against the resurgent Taliban." National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said the troops are "part of the effort to speed up the training and expand the size of the Afghan forces."
The addition of the 3,500-member training brigade will bring the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan to 27,000 troops, the highest level in the more than five years the U.S. military has been in that country.
Last month, Bush called on NATO allies to increase their commitment of troops to Afghanistan and to lift the restrictions some nations place on their deployment, all in an effort to root out Taliban strongholds.
Bush submitted the revised budget request in the middle of a five-nation tour of Latin America.
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