President Bush is meeting with congressional leaders Wednesday to discuss his new strategy for Iraq, hours before announcing his highly anticipated new strategy for the war-torn country.
During his speech Wednesday night, Mr. Bush is expected to call for 20,000 additional U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq, most of them going to Baghdad and some to the volatile western Anbar province. News reports say the first wave of troops are to be sent by the end of the month.
Administration officials are quoted as saying the president will call for turning over security in all provinces to Iraqi security forces by November. He is also expected to announce a one-billion dollar economic aid package for Iraq.
Majority Democrats in Congress are expressing opposition to a U.S. troop surge in Iraq. House and Senate Democratic leaders are pledging to hold votes on non-binding resolutions opposing the plan.
Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy of the northeastern state of Massachusetts has proposed legislation that would force the president to seek Congressional approval before sending more troops. Kennedy said Tuesday an escalation in Iraq would needlessly endanger U.S. forces by injecting more of them into a civil war.
Republican Senator John McCain supports the idea of what is being called a surge in troops, saying it will give the Iraqi government a fighting chance to pursue reconciliation.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters