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Bush Vows to Veto Legislation Calling for US Iraq Withdrawal


U.S. President George Bush says he will veto an emergency spending bill for the war in Iraq because opposition Democrats attached a timetable for the withdrawal of troops there. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

President Bush says House Democrats have shown they are willing to undermine gains he says U.S. troops are making in Iraq in order to score political points in Washington.

"The purpose of the emergency war spending bill I requested was to provide our troops with vital funding," he said. "Instead, Democrats in the House, in an act of political theater, voted to substitute their judgment for that of our military commanders on the ground in Iraq."

The bill provides $95 billion for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan with a September 2008 deadline for the withdrawal of most American forces in Iraq. The legislation moves up that timetable if Iraq's government does not meet political, security, and economic benchmarks.

Repeating his vow to veto the legislation, President Bush says the bill has no chance of becoming law.

"Today's action in the House does only one thing. It delays the delivery of vital resources for our troops," said President Bush.

President Bush says Democrats want to make clear that they oppose the war in Iraq, and they've made their point.

"For some, that is not enough," he said. "These Democrats believe that the longer they can delay funding for our troops, the more likely they are to force me to accept restrictions on our commanders, an artificial timetable for withdrawal, and their pet spending projects. This is not going to happen."

A public opinion poll by Newsweek magazine says nearly 70 percent of Americans disapprove of the way the president is handing the war. 61 percent believe the United States is losing ground in efforts to establish security and democracy in Iraq.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the American people see the reality of the war in Iraq, and President Bush does not.

"The American people do not support a war without end, and neither should this Congress," she said.

It was a close House vote, largely along party lines, making it highly unlikely that Democrats could find the two-thirds majority needed to override the president's promised veto.