President Barack Obama on Thursday signed legislation to fund his troop surge in Afghanistan, even though it was stripped of money for domestic stimulus programs.
Congress passed the bill on Tuesday and Obama signed it without public remarks in a low-key Oval Office session.
Democratic leaders had to rely on Republican support to pass the $59 billion measure, which provides money for 30,000 additional troops in Afghanistan and other programs. With Pentagon leaders warning that money for the troops could run out as early as Aug. 7, the House accepted the Senate's pared-down measure.
The bill favored by the House would have included billions of dollars to help keep teachers on the job, provide aid for college students and enhance border security.
With the new war spending, the total amount of money that Congress has allotted for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan surpasses $1 trillion.
The signing took place just says after the unauthorized release of thousands of classified documents on the war that revealed some of the problems with the mission and with the Afghanistan government. Obama had urged for quick passage of the emergency funding despite the publication of the sensitive battlefield reports that reignited debate over the war.
The funding was requested by Obama in February.
After the Senate passed it in May, the House on July 1 approved its own version tacking on more than $20 billion in domestic spending. The Senate last week rejected that approach, falling 14 votes short of what was needed to break a GOP-led filibuster.
The bill includes more than $33.5 billion for the additional 30,000 troops in Afghanistan and to pay for other Pentagon operational expenses, $5.1 billion to replenish the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster relief fund, $6.2 billion for State Department aid programs in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Haiti, and $13.4 billion in benefits for Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange.
In addition to stripping out money for teachers and student aid, the final bill does not provide more than $4 billion requested by the administration to finance settlements of long-standing lawsuits against the government, including $1.2 billion to remedy discrimination by the Agriculture Department against black farmers and $3.4 billion for mismanaging Indian trust funds.
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