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Iraq: Bremer Asks Congress For Funds

Washington, 22 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator for Iraq, urged Congress today to swiftly approve President George W. Bush's funding request to deal with Iraq.

Bush is seeking $87 billion, most of it to spend in Iraq on military and reconstruction needs.

Bremer told a Senate committee that Iraq does not have the means to rebuild the country. He said Baghdad has huge debts stemming from the Saddam Hussein regime and is having problems even paying the interest on them.

In response, a leading U.S. Senate critic of the war, Democratic Senator Robert Byrd, told Bremer that the request was, "eye-popping." Byrd said the funding request would place a great burden on the American economy.

The senator also said the Iraqi war was wrong and waged for the wrong reasons. He said Iraq posed no imminent threat to America's security.