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US Lawmakers Express Support for Troops


U.S. lawmakers from both political parties are expressing support for U.S. troops following President Bush's speech on Iraq. But some Democrats are disappointed with the administration's efforts to win U.N. support for a resolution authorizing the use of force.

Democrats continued to criticize Mr. Bush for what they call a failure of U.S. diplomacy. But even key critics, such as Senator Carl Levin, say Americans must now rally behind U.S. forces on the ground.

Senator John Warner, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committed, says the United States is acting with international support, despite opposition by France and others. Senators Warner and Levin said Monday the Senate will pass a resolution expressing support for U.S. troops.

Earlier, Republicans, such as Senator Jeff Sessions, responded to Democratic criticisms concerning the potential costs of a war in Iraq. "They're prepared to put their lives at stake for us. And I don't think there ought to be the slightest suggestion, in any way, that we're not going to honor that commitment," he said.

Mr. Sessions, a member of the Armed Services Committee, adds that he hopes U.S. forces will not have to remain in Iraq for an extended period of time.

Senator John Edwards, a candidate for President in 2004, put the blame on Saddam Hussein for bringing the United States and its allies to the brink of war.

In the House of Representatives, one congressman closely involved in the budget process, Arizona Republican Jim Kolbe, praised Mr. Bush and said Americans of all political views should join in supporting U.S. forces. That was echoed by a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Curt Weldon, who predicts the United States and its allies will be at war in Iraq before the end of the week.

In answering Democratic criticisms on the cost of a war, Republicans say there is ample historical precedent for Congress getting budget requests from the White House to pay for military engagements, after those engagements have begun.

Administration and congressional sources say President Bush is likely to send such a request for costs in Iraq, and other needs, shortly after a U.S. led attack begins. Initial costs are estimated at anywhere between $65 billion and $95 billion.

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