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Senate Passes Supplemental Spending Bill For Troop Surge In Afghanistan

The Senate voted Thursday to pass a supplemental spending bill to help support a surge in troops in Afghanistan.

By a 67-28 vote, the Senate passed the $60 billion measure. About half of the money will go to the Pentagon to help fund the addition of 30,000 troops to Afghanistan.

In addition to funding the troop increase, the bill will provide $5 billion to replenish disaster aid accounts. It also includes legislation to allow the National Guard to receive up to $100 million from the oil spill liability trust fund to pay for the troops, supplies and equipment that have been needed in the cleanup efforts.

House leaders are a bit concerned that "Blue Dog" Democrats may object to the $60 billion number and have said they're open to the idea of dropping the number down to around $30 billion. Some of the things that could be dropped include help for doctors facing a big cut in Medicare reimbursements.

Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., voted for two measures to pay for the supplemental appropriations bill Thursday, but when both of those failed, he voted against the spending bill.

"Twice today I voted for measures that would have paid for this bill, but both failed because instead of cutting government largesse to pay for priorities, Washington would rather pass the buck and add to our country's crippling debt," Corker said.

Corker said he was amazed that Washington seems unable to make tough decisions to make ends meet and would rather add to the nation's increasing debt.

Further, while Corker said he supports the troops, he argued he could not "in good conscience vote to continue bankrupting the country they are fighting to protect."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., meanwhile, called it "critical" that the Senate pass the measure.

"Hundreds of Nevada families know all too well the sacrifice of sending a loved one into battle to defend America," Reid said. "And when we ask those troops and those families to give so much to our country, we have a solemn obligation to do everything possible to support them."

by RTT Staff Writer

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