Hoyer: Timing on Afghan war funding 'not as critical as once thought'

A senior House Democrat on Wednesday said the need for Congress to send additional money for the war in Afghanistan was not as urgent as it had been earlier in the year.

“We believe that the issue of funding is not as critical as we once thought it was in terms of timing,” House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters at his weekly briefing. “Nevertheless, we’d like to get the supplemental done, certainly this work period,” he added, referring to the four weeks before the next congressional recess, beginning the weekend of July 4.

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The Senate passed a nearly $60 billion supplemental war funding bill before Memorial Day, but the House has yet to act. The legislation also included about $23 billion in education aid for states and initial relief for the Gulf Coast oil spill.

In February the Pentagon had said the military would need an additional $33 billion by Memorial Day. “We are driving at 60 miles an hour toward a brick wall,” Comptroller Robert Hale told reporters at the time.

Hoyer also said that the House would probably work with the Senate version of the bill instead of passing its own separate version.

Roxana Tiron contributed to this story.