Democrats scrambled today to find 218 votes to pass a war spending bill that would establish a timetable to bring American troops home. Even as the administration and Congressional Republicans worked aggressively to foil their effort.
The White House said the $124 billion spending measure had “zero chance” to survive a presidential veto, and the Pentagon warned it would cause considerable harm to troops.

“Congress needs to get their business done quickly, get the moneys we’ve requested funded, and let our folks on the ground do the job,” The President remarked after a meeting with officials off to Iraq to help with the reconstruction.
The vote scheduled for Friday — was delayed by a day so Democratic leaders could meet with wavering lawmakers.

The vote comes a week after Senate Republicans narrowly turned back a resolution to limit the troop presence. Meantime, the Senate approved $122 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but insists Mr. Bush withdraw combat troops by next spring. Republicans attempted to delete the withdrawal language before deciding to try again when the full Senate takes up the measure next week.

The president’s press secretary chided lawmakers that the bill “has zero chance to be enacted into law.” “It’s bad
legislation,” Mr. Snow said. “The president is going to veto it and Congress will sustain that veto.”
He added, “You have people on Capitol Hill trying to buy or cajole votes for a bill that’s not going to pass.”
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates warned of a “genuinely adverse effect” on troops if money for the war was to run out, which he said would begin to happen within a month or two if a spending measure is not passed.

Antiwar advocates, including John Lewis of Georgia, said they oppose the measure. While Republicans are expected to stand nearly united against it. The House Republican leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, said that passage would “without question lead to failure” in Iraq. He predicted that Congress ultimately would provide the war-fighting money without conditions.
As debate opened today, the Democrats remained short the 218 votes needed for passage in the 435-seat chamber. Republicans have complained provisions — from reconstruction aid for hurricane victims to a subsidy for spinach farmers — being added to the bill by a Democratics leadership holds only a modest majority in the House.
House leaders continued arm twisting with Speaker Pelosi personaly walking the aisle to solicit members. “We will no longer be a rubber stamp for a failing policy that has cost us so much in blood and treasure,” Reamarked house majority leader Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland. The bill would require American combat forces leave Iraq by September 2008 or sooner if the Iraqi government fails to meet defined progress benchmarks. Both the Post and Sentinel provide in depth coverage on the continuing debate

Be Sociable, Share!