Senate Keeps Timeline in Bill to Fund Iraq Troops

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) grasps the podium as Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) speaks.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) grasps the podium as Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) speaks to the media after Tuesday's vote. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In the Senate, Democrats affirm a measure setting a timetable of next spring for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. The deadline is attached to a $122 billion spending bill funding the war in Iraq and Afghanistan for the rest of the fiscal year.

By a vote of 50-48, the Senate voted to keep in the funding bill a provision requiring that troops be out of Iraq by March 31, 2008, with the withdrawal beginning within 4 months of the bill's enactment.

Last week, the House approved a similar measure, which sets a timeline of Aug. 31, 2008, for a withdrawal. The White House is threatening to veto either bill, and it's looking likely that President Bush will get a chance to carry out that threat.

The key vote is over whether to strip from the Senate bill language that sets a U.S. troop withdrawal goal of March 31, 2008, and calls for that withdrawal to begin within four months of the bill's enactment.

Republican critics trying to remove the deadlines from the bill accused Democrats of micromanaging the war. But Republicans have also decided not to filibuster the bill.

Senate Republican leaders have decided to let the process move forward because it is likely that a negotiated compromise between the Senate and House will result in a bill that includes a timetable for withdrawal, and it is just as likely that the bill will ultimately be vetoed by President Bush.

Final passage of the complete spending measure is expected later this week.



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