Statement by the President

 

Friday  October 17, 2003

I applaud the House and Senate for passing my supplemental funding request to support our mission and our troops deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. These funds will provide the resources necessary to make Iraq more secure and support its transition to self-government, which is critical to winning the War on Terror. They will also continue our efforts to help build an Afghanistan that is prosperous, democratic, and at peace, and that contributes to regional stability.

I commend the House for wisely rejecting a proposal to convert part of the reconstruction funds to loans. It is unfortunate that a closely divided Senate voted to partially substitute loans for grants. Loans are the wrong approach -- they would slow the reconstruction of Iraq, delay the democratic process, and send the wrong message to both the region and the world. The loan provision must be removed in conference.

I thank Chairmen Stevens and Young for their efforts and urge the conference committee to work to resolve their differences, fully fund my request, and send me legislation I can sign quickly.

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