Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Senate Debates Troop Withdrawal Measure

Breaking a parliamentary roadblock, the Senate on Wednesday began its first formal debate on the Iraq war since Democrats took control of Congress, taking up a measure calling for President Bush to withdraw combat troops by the end of next March. The White House swiftly issued a veto threat.

The 89-9 vote paved the way for consideration of the Democratic legislation, which would start troop withdrawals within four months and calls for - but does not require - the complete removal of combat troops by the end of March 2008. The vote came after many Republicans abandoned the tactic they had used earlier this year to twice prevent the Senate from considering legislation aimed at forcing an end to the war.

Despite the vote, most Republicans opposed the Democratic bill and it was expected to eventually fall short of the 60 votes it will need to pass. Even so, the debate would give Democrats a chance to put Republicans on record as opposing a timetable on the war at a time when most American voters oppose the conflict.

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