| GEO World|
| U.S. Senate approves funds for Afghan troop increase|
| Updated at: 0905 PST, Friday, May 28, 2010|
WASHINGTON: The U.S. Senate approved funds to pay for President Barack Obama's Afghanistan troop increase but rejected a demand that he submit a timetable to bring U.S. forces home.
The House is expected to take up its version of the war funds legislation next month.
Most of the $33 billion in war spending approved by the Senate is to finance the 30,000 troop "surge" in Afghanistan that Obama announced in December, although some of it covers expenses in Iraq.
An additional $4 billion is for the State Department to fund the "civilian surge," bringing economic aid to Afghanistan and its neighbor, Pakistan. The new money is in addition to about $130 billion Congress already approved for Afghanistan and Iraq for this year and over $300 billion since 2001 just for the war in Afghanistan.
The Senate voted 67-28 to fund the troops. Many of those opposing the funding were Republicans who said they were concerned that ways were not found to pay for the new spending with cuts to other programs.
While the Senate voted 80-18 to reject the call for a pullout timetable, there were signs of growing unease inside Obama's Democratic Party over the nine-year-old war.
There was some anxiety among senators that U.S. combat deaths had passed 1,000 in Afghanistan and the cost of the war topped $300 billion.
Other spending priorities were included in the war funding bill: $13 billion for benefits for Vietnam War veterans exposed to Agent Orange; $5.1 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency; $2.8 billion for rebuilding Haiti; $400 million for U.S. flood relief; and $68 million to help address the impact of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.