House Votes on War-Funding Bill, Withdrawal Date The House is voting on a $124 billion measure to fund the war in Iraq for the rest of the fiscal year that also sets a goal for U.S. forces to be out of Iraq by next spring. President Bush has promised to veto the measure because of the timeline.
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House Votes on War-Funding Bill, Withdrawal Date

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House Votes on War-Funding Bill, Withdrawal Date

House Votes on War-Funding Bill, Withdrawal Date

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ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

NPR's Brian Naylor is on Capitol Hill and joins us now. And Brian, this vote has just begun as we've said. Any indication whether this will be a purely party-line vote?

BRIAN NAYLOR: I think we could expect that, Melissa. There's been a lot of harsh rhetoric in the past days leading up to this. And I think if anything, it's just hardened the two sides' positions. And what we've heard in the debate this evening is basically been a reprise of the previous debates on this issue, with Democrats saying it's time to get out, and Republicans saying there's still a job to be done. Here's the Republican leader of the House, John Boehner of Ohio.

JOHN BOEHNER: The president asked for funding for our troops in Afghanistan and in Iraq to meet our commitments to bring freedom to those people and to protect the American people. And here we are with a bill that has some $25 billion worth of spending over and above what the president asked for. And if that isn't bad enough, we'll handcuff our generals, we'll handcuff our troops and we go about this backhanded way of trying to end the war - in a backhanded way because the votes aren't there to do it in a straight-up fashion.

NAYLOR: And that's been the Republican argument that this is going to handcuff the troops on the ground, and it's going against what the commanders in Iraq are saying is needed right now.

BLOCK: And how did Democrats respond to that in the debate before the vote?

NAYLOR: Here's the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.

NANCY PELOSI: The sacrifices borne by our troops and their families demand more than the blank check the president is asking for for a war without end. The sacrifices demand a plan for bringing the war to an end. This bill contains that plan and provides the president for every dollar he asked for for the troops. And indeed - thank you, Mr. Murtha - much more. I urged my colleagues to support it. I urged the president to sign the bill so that we can focus on winning the war against terrorism, which is the real threat to the American people.

NAYLOR: Now of course, the president has made it clear he has no intention of signing this. And he's just waiting for it to reach his desk so he can reject it.

BLOCK: Brian, when that veto comes as it has been promised, what happens then, Brian?

NAYLOR: Well, that's when, you know, the end game begins, and we don't know at this point. There's talk that maybe Democrats will push a bill that gives the president that doesn't include a timetable but only funds the war for another two months or so, and make him come back and ask for more. And we'll have the debate all over again.

BLOCK: Okay, NPR's Brian Naylor. Thanks very much.

NAYLOR: Thank you.

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