US House denounces Bush troop plan

A non-binding House of Representatives resolution is passed by a vote of 246 to 182.

Ensuing congressional debate on the US 'war on terror' budget could affect US troops in currently in Iraq [AP]
Ensuing congressional debate on the US 'war on terror' budget could affect US troops in currently in Iraq [AP]

The vote put the House on record for the first time as rejecting Bush’s conduct of the nearly four-year war.


Symbolic resolution

Pelosi said: “The passage of this legislation will signal a change in direction in Iraq that will end the fighting and bring our troops home.”


Some of Bush’s Republican allies argued against the measure and said it represented a Democratic attempt to cut off money for the troops.


Roy Blunt, a Republican representative, said: “Their so-called slow-bleed approach is the bite that will surely hurt those fighting under America‘s flag overseas.


Pelosi hoped the resolution would
‘change direction in Iraq’ [Reuters]

“This non-binding resolution is the first step in an all-too-binding spiral toward defeat in a fight that we cannot afford to lose.”


The congressional resolution added 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 honorably in Iraq”.


‘Plan goes ahead’


The vote came at the end of a week of debate in which all members of the House had a chance to voice their opinion.


Anand Naidoo, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Washington, said the White House has reacted to the vote by reinforcing the president’s decision.


White House officials said Bush recognised that the situation in Iraq was “unacceptable and needed to be changed, and that is what he is doing”.


Naidoo said, as far as Bush is concerned, “the plan goes ahead”.


Senate session


The resolution will now move to the Senate where Democrats have decided to hold a rare Saturday session to renew their bid to reject Bush’s plan.


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The resolution faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where Democrats hold just a 51-49 majority that proved to be a weakness last week when they failed to win the votes needed to move a similar measure to debate.


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.”


War budget


Congress will now have to debate and vote on the budget for the ‘war on terror’, including expenditure of more than $93 billion for 2007.


Democratic leaders say they will not cut money for troops abroad but will try to attach conditions on war funding that could force Bush to stop the build-up.


Jack Murtha, the chairman of the House defence appropriations subcommittee and a critic of the Iraq war, has announced that he would condition the release of additional funds in a way that would hamper future troop deployments.


Murtha said politicians must “deny the president the ability to send more US troops into Iraq and to insist instead on restoring our military readiness”.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies


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