US bill on Iraq pullout plans gains support
Washington, September 28, 2007
With the US Senate gridlocked over pulling troops out of Iraq, a more modest House of Representatives proposal gained momentum on Thursday as the chamber's Republican leader said he would likely vote for it.
The proposal, by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, does not mandate any US troop withdrawals but would require the Pentagon to submit regular reports on withdrawal planning to defense committees of Congress.
A House committee approved it overwhelmingly in July but it has yet to be brought up for a floor vote by House Democratic leaders. They have been pressured to shelve the idea by anti-war lawmakers who fear any compromise could hurt chances to end the unpopular Iraq conflict.
On Thursday, House Republican leader John Boehner, a Bush loyalist and defender of the war, said he thought he would vote for it if he got the chance, signaling it could attract extensive Republican support.
'It came out of committee virtually unanimously,' Boehner, of Ohio, told reporters, adding, 'I would be shocked if the Pentagon did not already have this (pullout) plan sitting on its shelf.'
Democratic leadership aides said the proposal could be brought to the House floor for a vote as early as next week, but stressed the matter was still undecided. The plan's co-sponsor, Tennessee Democratic Rep. John Tanner, told reporters he expected a vote as early as Tuesday.
Tanner has been pushing for a more incremental approach on changing Iraq strategy rather than legislation mandating troop withdrawal timetables. The House has passed the latter several times, only to have it stall in the Senate, where the Democratic majority is much more narrow.
'When Congress says we want a definite date (for pullout) it is criticized for trying to micromanage the war. We're saying, you (the Bush administration) tell us (what the pullout plans are). And then maybe we can engage in constructive dialogue,' Tanner said outside the House chamber.
He said such planning was clearly going on, given that the Pentagon intends to reduce US forces in Iraq by some 30,000 by July 2008. There are about 165,000 US troops there now.
Congressional aides said the House could launch a series of votes on Iraq next week, with bills on war profiteering and contracting in the mix as well as Tanner's proposal.
There could also be other votes on bills by the fervent anti-war wing of the Democratic caucus, spilling over into the following week and the Oct. 10 fifth-year anniversary of the 2002 House vote authorizing Bush to attack Iraq. Senate war opponents were bitterly disappointed last week when proposals to change Iraq strategy not only failed but lost ground from earlier votes. Senate Democrats say they will not give up trying to end the war, but their next move is unclear.
The Senate passed a nonbinding resolution this week advocating the division of Iraq into federal regions as a way to end the sectarian strife and allow US troops to leave. - Reuters
More INTERNATIONAL NEWS Stories
- Passports requiring probe were on Malaysia flight
- 40 killed in Yemen as Houthi fighters near capital
- Vietnam finds object in sea; search on
- $5bn poll spend to boost India economy
- Libya authorises use of force against Korean tanker
- Ukraine PM says he will go to US to discuss crisis
- Syrian journalist killed covering fighting
- Malaysian jet may have turned back before vanishing
- No sign of missing plane; Malaysia probes false passports
- Two Europeans not on board 'missing' Malaysian jet
- China draws red line on North Korea
- Saudi sentences three to death for 2003 bombing
- First bitcoin machine opens in UK
- US sanctions will boomerang, warns Russia
- China plans $50bn bank to fund projects
- Sony to sell Tokyo 'birthplace'
- Obama orders sanctions over Russian moves
- Crimea parliament votes to join Russia
- Arab League to be revamped
- 'Upskirting' is legal: Massachusetts court
- Singapore probes 'unnatural' death of bitcoin trader
- Onus on world powers for Syria war crimes: UN
- US, Russia set for talks on Ukraine crisis
- Brent oil drops below $109
- Services outshine manufacturing, pushing up jobs
- Bitcoin bank shut down after hacker attack
- India to kick off world's biggest poll on April 7
- China signals focus on reforms
- Hundreds ready for bitcoin exchange class action
- Space taxi, Jupiter mission in Obama budget