Obama to address West Point

President Barack Obama will give a commencement address Saturday at West Point, just five months after visiting the academy to announce he was sending more troops to Afghanistan.

Obama is expected to talk about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in his address to the academy’s class of 2010, most of who would be expected to serve in those conflicts.

About 1,000 cadets are in the graduating class.

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The speech comes as a congressional debate over funding the war in Afghanistan begins to take shape. The Senate hopes to approve a supplemental war-funding bill before leaving for the Memorial Day recess, with the House taking up the legislation after the Senate.

The House vote will be complicated by opposition to the war effort from liberal Democrats, who are wary of continuing the engagement in Afghanistan.

Hoping to win Democratic votes, the administration and Senate Democrats are adding a $23 billion fund to the bill that would help state and local governments stave off teacher layoffs.

Republicans in the House say the addition of that fund could lead them to vote against the Afghanistan supplemental bill, but Democrats hope it would win the bill support from liberal members of their party.

In December, Obama chose the academy as the place to announce his decision to send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. He also said those troops would begin to return home 18 months after their arrival.

“These are the resources that we need to seize the initiative, while building the Afghan capacity that can allow for a responsible transition of our forces out of Afghanistan,” Obama said at the time.