US President George W. Bush, if re-elected, reportedly plans to ask Congress for around 70 billion dollars in emergency funding for Iraq and Afghanistan early next year.
The Washington Post reported the additional funding for US military operations abroad would be considerably larger than anticipated by lawmakers, and comes on top of 25 billion dollars in war spending allocated by Congress for fiscal 2005 that began October 1.
Bush, last year, requested 87 billion dollars for Iraq and Afghanistan.
The new funding request, the final amount of which will not be decided until shortly before it is submitted to Congress around February -- provided Bush wins the November 2 presidential election -- would push total war costs close to 225 billion since last year's invasion of Iraq, Pentagon and congressional officials told the daily.
An unnamed Pentagon official said the final figures could be shaped by the outcome of the presidential election and events in Iraq, adding that if the current troop levels are maintained, the funding request would fall roughly to around 70 billion dollars for the military alone.
Separately, USA Today said Tuesday that Pentagon officials were considering increasing current troop levels in Iraq from 138,000 to 160,000 to help protect international and Iraqi election workers and secure polling locations.
Troop numbers would be boosted by delaying the departures of some US troops now in Iraq and accelerating the deployment of others scheduled to go there in 2005, Pentagon officials told the nationally-distributed daily.
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