WASHINGTON -- President Clinton is promising Congress he'll soon seek funds to pay for U.S. participation in peacekeeping operations in Kosovo apart from the regular defense budget.
The operation will be performed "without harming military readiness," Clinton said in a letter to all House members.The letter, delivered late Thursday, helped defuse a tense battle in Congress over a GOP effort to bar funds for any operations in Yugoslavia -- even peacekeeping -- after Sept. 30.
"Congress would be the laughingstock of the world," if such legislation passed one day after the dramatic Kosovo peace agreement, said Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri, the senior Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee.
In the end, the House voted 270-155 to remove the cutoff provision from a $288.8 billion defense spending bill.
The overall bill was then approved 365-58.
It contains a 4.8 percent military pay raise and measures to tighten security at the nation's nuclear weapons labs. It now must be reconciled with a similar bill that earlier passed the Senate.