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BAGHDAD — Iraq's deadly insurgent groups have financed their war against U.S. troops in part with hundreds of thousands of dollars in U.S. rebuilding funds that they've extorted from Iraqi contractors in Anbar province.
The payments, in return for the insurgents' allowing supplies to move and construction work to begin, have taken place since the earliest projects in 2003, Iraqi contractors, politicians and interpreters involved with reconstruction efforts said.
Iraqi insurgents taking cut of U.S. rebuilding money
"The violence in Iraq has developed a political economy of its own that sustains it and keeps some of these terrorist groups afloat," said Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh, who recently asked the U.S.-led coalition to match the Iraqi government's pledge of $230 million for Anbar projects.
The program would double -- from 4 million to 8 million -- the number of children covered.
Eighteen Republicans joined all of the Democrats in voting to expand the program from its current annual budget of $5 billion to $12 billion for the next five years.
Senate passes children's health insurance bill, Bush vows to veto