US House OKs timetable for pulling US forces out of Iraq
Ignoring the promise of a veto by President George W. Bush, the US House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a war funding bill that includes a timetable for pulling American forces out of Iraq.
Lawmakers also ignored the visit by top army general in Iraq, David Petraeus, who during a closed-door session earlier in the day hailed the troop "surge" strategy and appealed for time so it could show results. According to the AP, the narrow 218-208 vote by the Democratic-majority House links release of 124 billion dollars in military spending for Iraq and Afghanistan to a schedule for the withdrawal of U.S. soldiers, starting as early as October.
The bill next faces a vote in Senate, expected on Thursday, when it is likely to be passed. Then it heads to Bush, who has repeatedly vowed to block it. "Tonight, the House of Representatives voted for failure in Iraq -- and the president will veto its bill," said a statement by White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.
"Democrats have forced this process to continue for too long. The president calls on the Senate to quickly pass this legislation so the president can veto it."
Perino said afterward, Bush would "work with the Congressional leadership on a clean bill that funds our troops while respecting the judgment of our military commanders and helping ensure the safety of the American people."
Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi mentioned the thousands of casualties endured by US troops and the "scores of thousands" of Iraqi lives lost during the war, which she added would "cost well over a trillion dollars if it ended today." "The sacrifices borne by our troops and their families demand more than the blank checks the president is asking for, for a war without end," she said, urging Bush "to sign the bill so that we can focus on winning the war against terrorism, which is the real threat to the American people."
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