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House fails to override Bush veto of Iraq war spending bill with U.S. troop withdrawal deadlines

House fails to override Bush veto of Iraq war spending bill with U.S. troop withdrawal deadlines

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives failed Wednesday to override President George W. Bush's veto of an Iraqi war spending bill with timetables for U.S. troop withdrawals.
The 222-203 vote, far short of the two-thirds majority needed for a veto override, occurred just ahead of a White House meeting that Bush called to begin compromise talks with congressional leaders of both parties on new legislation to finance the war, now in its fifth year.
"The president has turned a tin ear to the wishes of the American people," the leader of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said during the hour-long debate before the vote. "The president wants a blank check. The Congress will not give it to him."
But Rep. Jerry Lewis, a Republican, urged his colleagues to sustain the veto, saying politicians should not make military decisions.
"Now is not the time for the United States to back down in its war on terror," Lewis said.
Negotiations for a new spending bill could prove difficult. Both parties agree it should include benchmarks for progress in Iraq, but many Democrats insist they be tied to timelines for U.S. troop withdrawals if they are unmet. Bush and his Republican congressional allies say such links are unacceptable.
Hours before the House vote sustained the veto, which Bush had issued Tuesday, the president showed little appetite for compromise.
"I am confident that with goodwill on both sides that we can move beyond political statements and agree on a bill that gives our troops the funds and flexibility to do the job that we asked them to do," he said in a speech in Washington.
Of the original bill pushed through Congress by Democrats, Bush said: "It didn't make any sense to impose the will of politicians over the recommendations of our military commanders in the field."
Pelosi had told reporters Wednesday: "Benchmarks are important, but they have to have teeth in order to be effective."
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said before the vote that he hopes to have a new bill passed in the House in two weeks, with a final measure sent to the president before the end of the month. "We're not going to leave our troops in harms way . . . without the resources they need," said Hoyer.
Hoyer would not speculate on exactly what the bill might look like, but said he anticipates a minimum-wage increase will be part of it. He said the bill should fund combat through Sept. 30 as Bush has requested, casting doubt that Democratic leaders will adopt a proposal by Rep. John Murtha, a Democrat, to fund the war two or three months at a time.


Updated : 2021-05-13 07:27 GMT+08:00