The Pentagon can fund military operations in Iraq through July even under a possible protracted standoff between Democrats and the Bush administration, according to a study released in Washington Friday.
The study by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) said the U.S. army has enough money in its existing budget to fund operations and maintenance through the end of May -- about 52.6 billion U.S. dollars.
If additional transfer authority is tapped, subject to Congress approving a reprogramming request, the army will have enough funds to make it through nearly two additional months, or toward the end of July.
Using all of its transfer authority, the army could have as much as 60.1 billion dollars available.
Using only a portion of that transfer authority, the army could have enough money to get through June.
U.S. President George W. Bush and Republicans have argued the military needs the funding as early as mid-April, while Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said May 15 is the absolute latest the army could go without having to defer critical expenses and perhaps forego training for units set to be deployed to Iraq.
Bush requested the emergency funds in early February, but Democrats have linked such funding bills with timetables to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq next year.
He has repeatedly threatened to veto the bills and blamed the Democrats for delaying the appropriation of the war funds by presenting bills he can't sign off.
However, the study weakened his above claims and Democrats accused the president of misleading the public on the issue.
"This study confirms that the president is once again attempting to mislead the public and create an artificial atmosphere of anxiety," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
"He is using scare tactics to defeat bipartisan legislation that would change course in Iraq," he said.