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Senator Clinton Proposes Bill to Strip Bush of War Authorization

U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton has introduced legislation to repeal President Bush's authority to wage war in Iraq on October 11 of this year, exactly five years after Congress granted that authority. VOA's Deborah Tate reports from Capitol Hill.

Senator Clinton announced the legislation on the Senate floor late Thursday. "It is time to sunset the authorization of the war in Iraq. If the president will not bring himself to accept reality, it is time for congress to bring reality to him," she said.

Congress voted to give President Bush the authority to use military force against Iraq on October 11, 2002 on grounds that Iraq was allegedly stockpiling weapons of mass destruction.

Clinton was among those who voted for the authorization. She has been under pressure from members of the Democratic Party's liberal base to apologize for her decision. While she has declined to do so, she has said she would not have voted the same way had she known then what she knows now.

Clinton is cosponsoring the legislation with fellow Democrat, Senator Robert Byrd, who noted that public opinion polls show that a majority of Americans oppose the war. "Without the support of the public and the congress, we should no longer be in this fight," he said.

At the White House, spokeswoman Dana Perino said the proposal amounted to political posturing for Democratic primary voters. She is quoted as saying the Senate is trying another way to put a surrender date on the calendar.

Senators Clinton and Byrd announced their legislation two days after President Bush vetoed a bill to continue funding the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan because it also included a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq by April first of next year.

Top White House aides met with bipartisan congressional leaders on Capitol Hill Thursday in an effort to find a compromise on a war funding bill. Lawmakers said they have yet to reach a deal with the administration, and that talks will resume next week.

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