Archive for Thursday, March 22, 2007

Democrats attach Iraq deadline to spending bill

March 22, 2007


— Senate Democrats on Wednesday revived legislation urging President Bush to bring combat troops home from Iraq in a year, attaching the plan to a $122 billion measure needed to fund the war.

The move puts Democrats on track for another confrontation with Bush over the increasingly unpopular war and with Republicans, who are expected to try to block the measure.

House Democratic leaders are pushing a similar measure that would require that troops leave by the fall of 2008. Party officials predicted the House would pass it on Friday, albeit by a razor-thin margin.

"United States troops should not be policing a civil war, and the current conflict in Iraq requires principally a political solution," says a draft Senate bill circulated in anticipation of a committee vote today.

The measure would provide nearly $97 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and billions more in domestic aid and emergency relief programs. It would require that Bush begin bringing home troops within four months of the bill's passage, setting a nonbinding goal of having all U.S. combat troops out of Iraq by March 31, 2008.

The provision is similar to a resolution the Senate rejected last week. The vote then was 50-48, 12 shy of the 60 needed to pass after Bush pledged to veto the legislation.

Democrats think the spending legislation has a much better chance. Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who voted against last week's proposal, has agreed to support the spending bill because it outlines benchmarks for the Iraqi government.


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