Thursday, March 08, 2007

House, Senate Dems Put Forward Troop Withdrawal Legislation

House Democratic leaders intensified their debate with President Bush over Iraq today as they announced legislation that would pull American combat troops out of Iraq before the fall of 2008.

"Only then can we refocus our military efforts on Afghanistan to the extent that we must," Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. She said the Iraq withdrawal deadline would be attached to legislation providing nearly $100 billion requested by the Bush administration for the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns and money to expand health care for veterans.

Representative David R. Obey of Wisconsin, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said the leadership’s proposal "will essentially redirect more of our resources to the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, fighting the right war in the right place against the people who attacked us and who are giving Al Qaeda sanctuary."

Hours after the House Democrats’ announcement, leading Democrats in the Senate, where a vote on Iraq has been stalled, offered a resolution calling for the beginning of a "phased redeployment" of American troops within four months, with all combat forces to be out of Iraq by March 31, 2008.

Despite the Democrats' advantage in the House (233 seats, to 201 for the Republicans), the leadership's proposal seems to have very little chance of advancing, since Republicans are nearly united against it and Democrats are split, with some conservatives saying it goes too far in aiming to wind down the war in Iraq and liberals saying it does not go far enough.

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