WILL THE U.S. SENATE RESPOND IN KIND?
President G.W. Bush said "These Democrats believe that the longer they can delay funding for our troops, the more likely they are to force me to accept restrictions on our commanders, an artificial timetable for withdrawal, and their pet spending projects," he said. "This is not going to happen."
I say "Its time for President G.W. Bush to listen to the American people".
US House ties Iraq war funding to withdrawal timeline
Source: Agence France Presse 03/23/2007 WASHINGTON, March 23, 2007 (AFP) -
The US House of Representatives Friday voted to impose an August 31, 2008 deadline to pull combat troops out of Iraq, prompting a veto threat and a furious rebuke from President George W. Bush.
In the boldest challenge yet to Bush's war powers, lawmakers voted 218 to 212 to link a 124-billion-dollar war budget to a timeline for withdrawal, significantly raising the stakes in an escalating feud with the president.
"This war is a grotesque mistake," House speaker Nancy Pelosi said, closing a passionate and often acrimonious debate.
"The American people will not support a war without end, and neither should this Congress."
But an infuriated Bush quickly vowed to veto the bill if it reaches his desk, accusing Democratic leaders of second guessing the generals running the war and of abdicating their responsibilities to the US armed forces.
"Democrats in the House, in an act of political theater, voted to substitute their judgment for that of our military commanders on the ground in Iraq."
Bush said the bill had no chance of becoming law: "I will veto it if it comes to my desk."
White House spokesman Tony Snow said the bill would put "handcuffs on generals, colonels, lieutenant colonels, majors, captains, lieutenants, sergeants, corporals, privates and everybody else."
Two Republicans broke with their leaders and voted in favor of the bill. Fourteen Democrats voted against their own party's bid to end the war and Bush's surge of more than 21,500 more troops into Iraq.
The legislation funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan presented Republican lawmakers with a dilemma: if they opposed the timetable plan, they risked being portrayed as voting against a bill providing funding for American troops locked in fierce combat.
Democratic Representative John Murtha, a passionate advocate of a US withdrawal from Iraq, said: "We are going to bring those troops home, we are going to start changing the direction of this great country.
"The American people in the last election sent a message, they said we want the Iraqis to solve their own problems in Iraq," he said, in a speech on the House floor greeted by applause and a standing ovation by Democrats.
But Republican Minority leader John Boehner said the bill would send a damning message about the US commitment to fighting global terrorism.
"We are in the midst of a fight with an enemy that is not just in Iraq, that's all over the world," he said.
The 124-billion-dollar emergency supplemental spending package for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq would tie the deployment of combat forces to strict standards for rest, equipment and training of troops.
It also would create benchmarks that would hold the Iraqi government accountable for progress toward self-governance and security.
If the Iraqis fail to meet the objectives, a withdrawal of troops would have to begin within months.
No matter how the Iraqi government performs, the bill calls for the withdrawals to begin in March 2008 and for most US combat forces to be out of Iraq by August 31, 2008.
The package passed after the Democrats overcame divisions within their own ranks from lawmakers who had been demanding an immediate withdrawal from Iraq.
Despite Bush's stand, Democrats saw the bill as part of a concerted political campaign to force the end of US involvement in Iraq and pressure the president's Republican backers.
Separately, a Senate committee on Thursday approved its own draft emergency war funding measure, setting a March 2008 deadline to withdraw most US combat troops from Iraq.
The House and Senate versions must be reconciled, then the president must sign the measure for it to become law. To override a presidential veto, each chamber would have to secure a two-thirds majority.
The Democratic-controlled Senate last week rejected a bid to pass a separate binding resolution that would have called for US troops to be pulled out of Iraq by the end of March 2008.
Commentary: Every Senator (Democrat, Independent & Republican) who sponsors or votes for a non-binding resolution specifically in regards to the War in Iraq, in my opinion, should not be re-elected. I believe this because a non-binding resolution has no authority, it is a waist of paper.