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House Democrats Challenge President Bush on Iraq War Funding

  • VOA News

In a close vote following emotional debate, the US House of Representatives has set a timetable for bringing all US combat troops home from Iraq.

Majority Democrats put the binding timetable into an emergency Iraq funding bill that was narrowly approved (218-212) Friday, largely along party lines.

President Bush swiftly vowed to veto the bill, saying the House action only delays the delivery of vital resources for US troops. He predicted Democratic efforts to force him to accept restrictions on his handling of the war would fail.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democratic leaders called the vote a giant step toward ending the administration's failed Iraq policies while forcing Iraqis to fight their own war.

It was the strongest challenge yet to the president from Democrats, who took control of Congress in last year's elections largely due to growing dissatisfaction with the Iraq war.

A public opinion poll by Newsweek magazine says nearly 70 percent of Americans disapprove of the way the president is handing the war. Sixty-one percent believe the United States is losing ground in efforts to establish security and democracy in Iraq.

Two House Republicans voted for the measure while 14 Democrats voted against it. (One Republican and two Democrats did not vote, while one Democrat voted "present.")

The Senate may vote as early as next week on its own version of the war funding bill and a deadline for withdrawing troops.

The two versions would then need to be reconciled, with neither the House nor the Senate expected to have the votes needed to override the president's threatened veto.

The House emergency spending bill includes 124 billion dollars in funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus more than 20
billion dollars for domestic programs.

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