WASHINGTON (CN) – The Senate Appropriations Committee approved an additional $33.5 billion in emergency funding for this year’s budget to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, combat counterterrorism and provide Haiti with post-earthquake relief.
The supplemental appropriations bill, which was approved 30-0 in a budget markup hearing, includes $58.8 billion in total government spending, with $45.4 billion discretionary spending and $13.4 billion in mandatory funding to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The major chunk of the funds, $33.5 billion, will support a 30,000-member troop surge in Afghanistan, and will cover the costs of combat operations, replacement helicopters and military construction projects.
The bill also includes $5.1 billion in FEMA disaster relief funding to cover response costs for natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and wildfires in California.
An additional $6.2 billion is directed to the State Department to support international efforts, including more than $2 billion in Haiti earthquake relief.
“I want to inform all my colleagues that this bill is neither a bailout nor a stimulus, Committee chair Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, said. “Instead, it is the minimum necessary to meet emergency requirements and the cost of war.”
The bill now goes to the Senate floor for approval.