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Congressional Democrats Reject Expansion of Forces

Democratic majority leaders in Congress are rejecting President Bush's planned increase of U.S. forces in Iraq, saying it is time to begin bringing American troops home.

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin spoke for his party late Wednesday in a televised reaction to Mr. Bush's speech on a new strategy for Iraq.

Durbin said 20,000 new troops for Iraq are too few to end the civil war and too many more lives to risk on top of the 3,000 Americans that have already died.

He said in the fourth year of the war it is time for the Iraqis to defend their own nation and disband the militias and death squads.

Earlier Wednesday, House Minority leader John Boehner, a Republican, said the president's plan is, in his words, "our best shot at victory in Iraq" and "what the American people want and expect."

But several senators from President Bush's party came out against a troop expansion. Republican Senator Norm Coleman said Wednesday it would put more American soldiers in the cross-hairs of sectarian violence.

Republican Senator Sam Brownback, on a visit to Iraq, said he does not believe sending more troops to Iraq is the answer.

Democratic leaders in the Senate and the House of Representatives plan to hold non-binding votes next week to highlight the lack of support for the Bush plan.