Partial win for Democrats on Iraq

US Democrats have received mixed results in challenges to the president's Iraq policy, gaining House Appropriations Committee approval for a troop withdrawal, but suffering defeat in the senate on a plan to end US 4-year-old occupation

Partial win for Democrats on Iraq

USDemocrats have received mixed results in challenges to the president's Iraq policy, gaining House AppropriationsCommittee approval for a troop withdrawal deadline of September 1, 2008, butsuffering defeat in the senate on a plan to end US participation in the 4-year-oldwar.

On a mostly partisan 36-28 vote, the House AppropriationsCommittee approved legislation on Thursday that sets strict conditions oncontinuing the Iraqwar for the next 18 months and would end US combat there by September 1, 2008.

The conditions and deadline are part of a $124.1bn emergencyspending bill, including $95.5bn to continue fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this year.

The White House has threatened a presidential veto of themeasure, which could be debated in the full House as early as next week, andwas facing resistance in the senate on Thursday.

David Obey, the House Appropriations Committee chairman,said as his panel began a heated debate on the war: "We are trying todeliver a message to the politicians in Iraq that we are not going to sitaround forever watching them dither, watching them refuse to compromise, whileour troops die."

The legislation marked the first time a congressionalcommittee voted to put binding limits on the duration of the war in Iraq.

As the house panel voted, the senate wrangled over aseparate Democratic resolution calling on George Bush, the president, to bringUS troops home by March 31, 2008.

Senate rejection

That measure failed on a 50-48 vote in which 60 votes wereneeded for passage, but anti-war senators may try again in the spendingmeasure.

"This is a process. Step by step, we're moving towardshaving our soldiers, sailors, and marines return home from Iraq.

That is what this is all about," Harry Reid, the senatemajority leader, said before the vote.

Even if congressional Democrats fail to enact legislation toend the increasingly unpopular war, they are hoping to accomplish two things -to deliver on last year's campaign promise that they would try to bring thetroops home and to apply pressure on the Iraqi government to take moreresponsibility for security, a goal Bush also seeks.

"This is a civil war and the Iraqis have to take thisup themselves," John Murtha, a Democrat representative, said, adding thatthe war was ruining USmilitary capability.

Congress hopes to finish work on the war-spending bill bynext month, when the Pentagon says it will run out of money to wage war.

Next week, the Senate Appropriations Committee will writeits version of the war-spending bill.

Robert Byrd, the committee chairman, said on Wednesday:"The Congress of the United Stateswill not support an unaccountable, open-ended war in Iraq.

To entice wavering legislatorsto vote for the bill, House Democrats have included $6.4bn, significantly morethan Bush sought, in new money to help southern states rebuild afterdevastating hurricanes in 2005.

Source: Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16