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House, Senate agree on $82 billion to fund Iraq, Afghanistan war
WASHINGTON -- House and Senate negotiators agreed Tuesday on an $82 billion measure for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and reconstruction, giving President Bush most of what he asked for and pushing the costs of the conflicts beyond $300 billion.
Congress had promised to pay only for urgent items, and both versions of the bill passed by the Republican-controlled chambers had a slightly lower cost than the president requested. But the final legislation ended up with the same overall price tag.
Most of the money -- $75.9 billion -- is slated for military operations, nearly $1 billion more than what the president wanted. Lawmakers added more money to protect troops in combat zones, although not as much as the House had wanted.
The House will vote on the measure Thursday. The Senate is expected to take it up next week when it returns from a weeklong recess.
Negotiators had hoped to resolve all their differences on the bill last week. But a small number of earmarks the Senate inserted in its version of the bill held up negotiations through the weekend.