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Democrats to link defence spending to troop withdrawal in US Congress
16 November 2007

Washington: Democrats and president Bush are all set to lock horns over Iraq once again with the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and the Senate expected to vote on a measure linking a certain portion of defence budgetary allocations, asked for by the president for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, with a new time table to withdraw US forces from Iraq by next year.

Democrats plan to bring to the floor of the House a measure that would give the president a bridge fund for military operations, of about $50 billion of the $196 billion he sought earlier this year, with the caveat that the president begin redeploying US forces from Iraq within 30 days, with the ultimate goal of pulling most combat troops out by December 15, 2008.

 

The measure would also restrict the US military mission to force protection, counter-terrorism and training of Iraqi security forces.

The president has previously rejected all attempts by the Democratic-controlled Congress to attach language calling for any kind of timetable for withdrawal, and for that reason, the Democrats may ultimately be forced to remove the provision.

House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer made a direct appeal to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, urging him not to block the measure. "We would very sincerely hope that Senator McConnell and the Republicans in the US Senate would allow the will of the American people to be reflected on the floor of the US Senate."

A report issued by Democrats Tuesday estimated that the overall economic cost to Americans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would reach $1.6 trillion by next year:

For his part, Republican Senator McConnell made it clear that Republicans had no intention of going along with the Democratic effort, saying he would use Senate procedures to push for a clean bill for military operations.

In arguing against the Democrat's $50-billion measure with withdrawal and other provisions, Republicans are expected to cite recent positive reports about declining violence in Iraq.

send this article to a friendOn their side, Democrats are expected to point to the fact that 2007 remains the deadliest year for American forces, especially in their operations in Iraq.

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Democrats to link defence spending to troop withdrawal in US Congress