House Adopts Resolution Protesting Troop Surge The House, over the objections of the minority Republican leadership, passes a nonbinding resolution disapproving of President Bush's plan to send additional soldiers to Iraq. The vote approving the measure came after four days of debate.
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House Adopts Resolution Protesting Troop Surge

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House Adopts Resolution Protesting Troop Surge

House Adopts Resolution Protesting Troop Surge

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

And I'm Michele Norris. After four days of extraordinary debate, the House of Representative has approved a non-binding resolution opposing President Bush's troop increase in Iraq. The final vote tally was 246 for the resolution and 192 opposed. It's largely along party lines. In a few minutes, we'll talk it over with our regular political observers.

But first, here's NPR's Brian Naylor from the Capitol.

BRIAN NAYLOR: Some 400 members of the House took part in the debate over the resolution, in which Democrats and Republicans alike criticized the conduct of the war in Iraq but differed over what course should be pursued from here. Democrats, led by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, said it was time to start withdrawing troops from Iraq.

Representative NANCY PELOSI (Democrat, California): The passage of this legislation will signal a change in direction in Iraq that will end the fighting and bring our troops home safely and soon.

NAYLOR: The resolution was purposely kept simple and straightforward, in an effort to win wide bipartisan support. It states that Congress will continue to support members of the Armed Forces who are serving or have served in Iraq, and that Congress disapproved of the president's decision to send more than 20,000 additional troops there.

It was initially thought that wording might win dozens of votes among Republicans. But in the end, only 17 Republicans crossed the aisle. The wording did not keep Republicans from saying the Democrats were pulling the rug out from under the troops. Republican Sam Johnson of Texas, who was maimed as a Vietnam prisoner-of-war, cited his experience.

Representative SAM JOHNSON (Republican, Texas): Today, let my body serve as a brutal reminder that we must not repeat the mistakes of the past. Instead, learn from them. We must not cut funding for our troops. We must stick by them. We must support them all the way.

NAYLOR: Democrats like Steven Rothman of New Jersey kept coming back to the fighting in Baghdad.

Representative STEVEN ROTHMAN (Democrat, New Jersey): The only hope that our enemies have to destroy the United States is to have us remain bogged down in the swamp of the Iraqi civil war. Are we smart enough to pull ourselves out of that swamp of the Iraqi civil war?

NAYLOR: Republicans all but conceded defeat on the measure earlier in the week and began focusing on what is to become the next battle over Iraq: the president's $100 billion supplemental budget request to fund the war for the rest of the fiscal year.

Democrats hope to attach conditions to the money, prohibiting additional troops from being sent to Iraq unless they're properly equipped and trained. House Republican Leader John Boehner said the GOP is eager to begin that fight.

Representative JOHN BOEHNER (Republican, Ohio): Why don't we have the real debate and have the real vote, and do it now? Let's get out of the shadowboxing. Let's get away from the non-binding resolution. Let's get away from the slow belief(ph). Let's just have the real debate that the American people want us to have and bring it to an end.

NAYLOR: Tomorrow, in an unusual Saturday session, the Senate will attempt to take up the same resolution the House passed today. But Republicans in that chamber have promised a filibuster to present that. Brian Naylor, NPR News, the capital.

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