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President Bush Repeats Call For War Funding Bill

President Bush says he will veto funding for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq because opposition legislators have attached timetables for a troop withdrawal from Iraq. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, Democrats say wins in last year's congressional elections show that voters want U.S. troops to come home.

In the two months since he asked Congress for emergency war spending, President Bush says Democrats have worked to substitute the judgment of Washington politicians for generals in the field.

"In both the House and Senate, Democratic majorities have passed bills that would impose restrictions on our military commanders, set an arbitrary date for withdrawal from Iraq, and fund domestic spending that has nothing to do with the war," he said.

"The Democrats who passed these bills know that I will veto either [House or Senate] version if it reaches my desk, and they know my veto will be sustained," President Bush continued.

Because the votes in both chambers of Congress were close, it is unlikely that Democrats will find the two thirds majority needed to override the president's veto.

Democrats say their legislation fully funds the wars and includes money for other priorities, including levees in Louisiana that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Democratic leaders say timetables for a troop withdrawal will force Iraqi leaders to take greater responsibility for their own security and will stop the president from pursuing what they say is an open-ended commitment of American forces.

In the Democratic radio address, party chairman Howard Dean said opposition legislators are willing to work with President Bush to find a solution.

"It is time for the president and the Republicans in Congress to stop trying to bully their way through this and work with Democrats to end the war," he said.

"It is time for the president to show respect to the American people who voted overwhelmingly to leave Iraq. President Bush and his Republican allies did not have a clear plan when they misled our nation into this war, and they do not have a clear plan to get our troops out," he added.

A public opinion poll by Newsweek magazine says a majority of Americans favor setting a deadline for troops to leave Iraq. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed support getting U.S. troops out within a year.

President Bush and Democrats in Congress blame each other for delaying funds for troops. Defense officials say they will have to cut back on training and equipment repair if there is not additional funding in the next few weeks.