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US House to Vote on Iraq Troop Increase Next Week


Congressional leaders say the House of Representatives will take up a resolution opposing President Bush's decision to send more troops to Iraq, with a vote expected next week.

Progress on a similar resolution in the Senate was halted when Republicans voted nearly unanimously Monday to block a vote on the measure. Both resolutions are non-binding, so they would not alter Mr. Bush's "troop surge" plan, which calls for sending another 21-thousand-500 troops to Iraq to tighten security in Baghdad and other parts of the country.

In other developments Tuesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he is considering what steps to take if the troop-increase plan does not produce results. He told lawmakers on Capitol Hill the United States could begin withdrawing troops from Iraq later this year, subject to political developments in Baghdad and security considerations.

Gates was answering questions from members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on the proposed budget for military operations.

The Senate committee unanimously approved the nomination of Admiral William Fallon to be the top U.S. commander in the Middle East. Fallon had been commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific. The panel also approved the President's nomination of General George Casey as Army chief of staff, by a 14-3 vote. Both nominations must now be considered by the full Senate.
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