Congress advances $106 billion war-funding bill

The US Congress is on its way to giving President Barack Obama what could be its final emergency war-spending bill, an annual budgetary sleight-of-hand that since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has cost the US nearly $1 trillion. The Senate is to move to the $106 billion measure on Wednesday, a day after the House narrowly passed the bill over the objections of nearly all Republicans and several dozen anti-war Democrats. The bill provides about $80 billion to maintain defense and intelligence activities in Iraq and Afghanistan through the rest of this fiscal year, which ends on September 30. Obama pushed hard for passage, saying it was crucial to his plans to wind down operations in Iraq in an orderly way while boosting force strength in Afghanistan and providing Pakistan with the military and economic aid it needs to deal with the Taliban insurgency.