Democrats in the US House of Representatives are defending the bill they passed Friday that allocates funds for the war in Iraq but also sets a timetable for bringing the troops home.
Representative Paul Hodes of the northeastern state of New Hampshire said in the Democrats' weekly Saturday radio address that the bill signals a new direction in Iraq policy. He said it would hold Iraqis accountable for their own country.
President Bush said on US radio today that Democratic House members have only delayed funding for the troops by passing a bill they know will not become law. He has repeatedly vowed to veto any such bill that reaches his desk.
This House bill would provide 124 billion dollars in funding for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also would require U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq by the end of August 2008.
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. Neither the House nor the Senate is expected to have the votes needed to override a presidential veto.
A new 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.