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House passes spending bill for war in Afghanistan

From Brianna Keilar and Deirdre Walsh, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • House narrowly passes spending bill late Thursday
  • Just before the vote, the White House issues veto threat
  • House measure includes $10 billion in domestic spending
  • Senate must take up the bill again

Washington (CNN) -- The House narrowly passed a spending bill late Thursday that includes $37 billion to fund the war in Afghanistan.

Just before the vote, the White House issued a veto threat, warning members of President Barack Obama's party that he would reject the bill if they placed money conditions that would "undermine his ability as commander in chief to conduct military operations in Afghanistan."

The White House also objected to cuts to one of Obama's key education priorities.

The House measure includes $10 billion in domestic spending -- such as money for the Gulf oil disaster and funds to help states avoid teacher layoffs.

War funding passed the Senate without the add-ons in the House version, so the Senate must take up the bill again.

But Senators have left Washington for the July Fourth recess and won't return until the week of July 11.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates had urged Congress to pass the war funding before its break, telling lawmakers that without the money the military will "begin planning to curtail defense operations."

In a sign of the growing chasm between Obama and members of his own party over his war policy, one amendment to the bill drew support from 153 Democrats -- a significant majority of the caucus -- as well as nine Republicans, but was defeated.

It would have forced Obama to commit to a timetable for completing troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The President has said he aims to begin reducing troop numbers in Afghanistan starting in July 2011, but he and Gen. David Petraeus, the top military commander in Afghanistan, have reserved the option of adjusting the plan

 
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