Obama seeks $83.4 billion more in 2009 war fundsWASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama asked the U.S. Congress on Thursday for an extra $83.4 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this year, citing threats from al Qaeda and a resurgent Taliban.
The request, to cover the rest of the 2009 fiscal year which ends on September 30, comes on top of more than $822 billion that Congress has approved to fund the wars since September 2001, Obama said.
"We face a security situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan that demands urgent attention," he said in a letter to Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives, urging lawmakers to approve his request swiftly.
"The Taliban is resurgent and al Qaeda threatens America from its safe haven along the Afghan-Pakistan border."
Almost 95 percent of the funding would go to support military efforts to stabilize Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Obama said in the letter released by the White House.
The request also includes funding for other national security priorities of the administration, including assistance for anti-drug efforts in Mexico, security assistance in Lebanon and closing down the Guantanamo Bay prison.
Congress has already approved $65.9 billion for the wars in 2009 and some anti-war Democrats expressed reservations about the new request.
But Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Obama's policies on Iraq and Afghanistan enjoyed broad support on Capitol Hill.
"The alternative to the supplemental is a sudden and precipitous withdrawal ... from both places. And I don't know anybody who thinks that's a good idea," Gates said.
Well allow me to introduce myself, Mr Gates, and I have a few million others I'd like you to meet as well. Of course, you elites like to pretend people like us don't really exist, like Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster.