Senate accepts troop withdrawal provision; Bush vows veto

Senate report on 2007 war supplemental bill

The Senate accepted a provision in its 2007 war supplemental funding bill on March 27 that calls for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. But President Bush said he will veto the measure because it calls for withdrawal of troops from that nation by March 31, 2008.

The House passed its version of the $122 billion-$124 billion war supplemental bill on March 23. A House-Senate conference committee must resolve the differences between the two bills with Bush threatening a veto of any bill which sets timelines on troops withdrawals.

Bush told a meeting of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in Washington, D.C., today that “I have made it clear for weeks, if either version comes to my desk; I'm going to veto it. It is also clear from the strong opposition in both houses that my veto would be sustained.”

Bush noted that the withdrawal language and his planned veto will threaten funding for troops operating in Iraq starting next month. “Funding for our forces in Iraq will begin to run out in mid-April. Members of Congress need to stop making political statements, and start providing vital funds for our troops,” Bush said.

Bush also condemned both the Senate and House for loading the war bills with funding he had not requested and has nothing to do with Defense Department budgets. He told the meeting that the House bill includes $74 million for peanut storage, $25 million for spinach growers and $6.4 million for House salaries.

The Senate bill, Bush said, includes $40 million for tree assistance and $3.5 million for Capitol tours.  Bush said he intends to exercise his veto because the House and Senate bills have “too much pork, too many conditions on our commanders, and an artificial timetable for withdrawal.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that the war funding bill gives the president "the chance to more effectively fight terrorism and redeploy our troops from a civil war. This bill also gives the president the chance to address some of our country's most urgent needs -- long-ignored priorities including veterans health care; port, mass transit and airport security; and rebuilding the Gulf Coast.”

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