The Corner

More War Funding

U.S. Democrats to fund Iraq war with no pullout date

By Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President

Bush won a battle over funding the Iraq war as congressional

Democrats Tuesday abandoned troop withdrawal efforts for now

but pledged to fight with new legislation in July.

Senior congressional aides said a $100 billion war funding

bill the U.S. Congress is trying to finish this week will not

contain timetables for withdrawing most of the 147,000 U.S.

troops from Iraq, as anti-war Democrats had hoped.

On May 1, Bush vetoed Congress’ first version of this

year’s emergency war funds bill because it set an Oct. 1

deadline for starting to pull out soldiers.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat,

said that finishing touches on a new bill were still being

worked on with the White House.

But acknowledging the political realities of the Democrats’

narrow control of Congress and a White House occupied by a

Republican, Hoyer told reporters, “The president has made it

very clear he’s not going to sign timelines (for withdrawing

troops). We can’t pass timelines over his veto.”

That will be a disappointment for many Democrats who think

they won control of Congress in last November’s elections

largely because voters wanted to see an end to the

four-year-old war in Iraq.

Hoyer said Democrats will continue pushing for a “change in

direction” in Iraq, where at least 3,420 U.S. soldiers have

been killed and more than 34,000 wounded.

“Certainly we’ll do it in July when Mr. Murtha’s bill is on

the floor,” Hoyer said.

He was referring to Rep. John Murtha, the Pennsylvania

Democrat who has led efforts in the House of Representatives to

end U.S. combat involvement in the Iraq war. In July, Murtha

will shepherd a military funding bill through the House for the

next fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1….