The House okayed a plan today to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by spring. The measure passed 223-201 despite the threat of a veto from Bush, who is clinging to his insistence that there be no change in Iraq war policy before September.
A few hours after Bush’s remarks at a press conference today on the new Iraq report, Democratic leaders in the House “engineered passage of legislation requiring the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops to begin within 120 days, and to be completed by April 1, 2008.”
The measure envisions a limited residual force to train Iraqis, protect U.S. assets and fight al-Qaida and other terrorists.
The vote generally followed party lines: 219 Democrats and four Republicans in favor, and 191 Republicans and 10 Democrats opposed.
Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., voted for troop withdrawals for the first time, contending that while she still opposes a swift pullout, “staying in Iraq indefinitely is equally unacceptable.”
“The report makes clear that not even the White House can conclude there has been significant progress,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
To Bush and others who seek more time for the administration’s policy to work, she said, “We have already waited too long.”
The N.Y. Times reports that the clash over Iraq has become bitter between Bush and Congress.