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US House of Representatives Holds 2nd Day of Debate on President's Iraq Troop Buildup


A second day of debate gets underway Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives on President Bush's Iraq strategy. VOA's Dan Robinson reports from Capitol Hill.

House lawmakers will spend another full day making floor statements in the first major debate on Iraq since Democrats won control of Congress in last November's election.

The dividing lines over the short non-binding resolution expressing disapproval of the president's additional troop deployment to Iraq are clear.

Democrats say Congress must re-assert its role on the Iraq issue, and chart a new direction that will result in bringing U.S. troops home.

Nancy Pelosi is the Democratic House Speaker:

"Friday's vote will signal whether the House has heard the American people," said Nancy Pelosi. "No more blank checks for President Bush on Iraq."

The resolution, which also states that Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect U.S. troops, is derided by Republicans as political theater.

Minority leader John Boehner asserts Democrats are essentially criticizing the mission of U.S. troops, and playing into the hands of al-Qaida and insurgents in Iraq:

"Because they cannot defeat Americans on the battlefield, al-Qaida and terrorist sympathizers around the world are trying to divide us here at home," said John Boehner.

Democrats reject Republican assertions the debate merely paves the way for legislation to cut off funding for U.S. troops.

But as Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Ed Markey sees it, it should mark the beginning of the end for the president's poorly-executed policies in Iraq:

"This debate marks the beginning of the end of the ill-conceived, mis-managed and ultimately failed wear in Iraq," said Ed Markey.

California Republican Duncan Hunter, says the resolution amounts to an attempt to interfere the president's management the war in Iraq:

"The resolution today is about the exact number of troops," he said. "Will the one tomorrow or next week be a vote on which block in Baghdad to target, or which car to stop?"

Democratic-controlled committees are preparing legislation that would link money requested by the president for Iraq to requirements that military units be adequately prepared, in training and equipment, before they can be deployed.

House Speaker Pelosi says a vote of disapproval when the debate ends on Friday would "set the stage" for such action.

Until Friday, it won't be known how many Republicans cross party lines to join Democrats in disapproving of President Bush's troop surge.

A similar debate in the U.S. Senate has been blocked by procedural disputes between Democrats and Republicans.

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