Leahy, Jeffords demand details on Iraq spending plan

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(Host) Both of Vermont’s U.S. senators want President Bush to provide details on the administration’s plan to spend more than $87 billion in Iraq. The president says he’ll ask Congress to support the spending plan in the next few weeks.

Senator James Jeffords says he will not support the spending request, unless the administration convinces the United Nations to join the effort in Iraq:

(Jeffords) “I won’t appropriate any of that kind of money unless there’s a plan that brings the United Nations in now and gets us out of there within a reasonable length of time. And then if you want to appropriate some money, that’s fine. But until we have a commitment to get out of there, I won’t go for it.”

(Host) Senator Patrick Leahy says it’s likely that the president will get the money. But Leahy says it’s critical for Bush to clearly outline why the administration believes this money is needed.

Leahy also says the president is making a mistake by linking the war in Iraq to war on terrorism:

(Leahy) “All Americans know that we have to go after terrorists, especially before they strike us. But al-Qaeda was not in Iraq, Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with September 11, and that’s not where we’re facing the dangers.”

(Host) Leahy says the country’s war on terrorism will be weakened if the president continues to link the effort with the war in Iraq.

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