US senate to vote on Iraq measure

An identical resolution passed in the House denounces Bush's Iraq troop increase.

    The Democratic party has the majority in both the upper and lower houses of congress [AP]

    Republicans loyal to Bush have warned they would try again to block debate on the resolution.

     

    Harry Reid, the senate majority leader, said: "Senators will have another opportunity to express their view on the war in Iraq.

     

    "Americans deserve to know whether their senator stands with the president and his plan to deepen our military commitment in Iraq, or with the overwhelming majority of Americans who oppose this escalation.

     

    "Let us be clear: Anyone voting 'no' ... is voting to give the president a green light to escalate the war."

     

    Resolution dismissed

     

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    Democratic leaders in the House successfully pushed through the resolution on Friday, winning the support of 17 of the chamber's 201 Republican members.

     

    The White House immediately dismissed the document, noting that it was non-binding, and warned Democrats against moving toward cutting off war funding.

     

    The resolution said congress "disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007" to send an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq.

     

    It adds that "congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States armed forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honourably in Iraq."

     

    The vote ended a week of debate, the most serious debate organised on the Iraq war since the US-led invasion in March 2003 to oust Saddam Hussein. More than 3,100 US troops have since died.

     

    Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, said: "Some of our House colleagues claimed this week that this resolution is merely symbolic and meaningless.

     

    "If they believe that the sentiments of the people's House expressed by an overwhelming majority is meaningless and only symbolic, then our democracy is at risk."

     

    War funding

     

    Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq has
    been condemned by a House resolution [AFP]

    But the White House has said it would press on with the new strategy and warned Democrats against moving toward cutting off war funding.

     

    In a statement shortly after the House vote, the White House said: "The president believes that the congress should provide the full funding and flexibility our armed forces need to succeed in their mission to protect our country."

     

    "Soon, congress will have the opportunity to show its support for the troops in Iraq by funding the supplemental appropriations request the president has submitted, and which our men and women in combat are counting on."

     

    In the coming weeks, congress will have to debate and vote on the budget for the "war on terror", beginning with an outlay of more than $93bn for 2007.

     

    Most opinion polls show 51 per cent of Americans support a non-binding resolution repudiating the president's troop "surge" proposal, while 63 per cent back proposals for getting US troops out of Iraq by the end of 2008.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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