Sun, Feb 18, 2007 - Page 1 News List

House resolution against more troops for Iraq passes

AFP , WASHINGTON

A resolution rebuking US President George W. Bush over his new strategy in Iraq moved to the US Senate yesterday, one day after it passed the House in a rare wartime blow to the US commander-in-chief.

Opposition Democrats controlling the Senate decided to hold a rare Saturday session to renew their bid in the upper chamber to reject Bush's decision to deploy 21,500 additional US troops to Iraq.

But the non-binding bill faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where Democrats hold a razor-thin 51-49 majority that proved a weakness last week when they failed to win three-fifths of the votes needed to move a similar measure to debate.

Loyal Republicans warned they would try to block the resolution from moving to debate.

"Senators will have another opportunity to express their view on the war in Iraq," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said.

"Americans deserve to know whether their senator stands with the president and his plan to deepen our military commitment in Iraq, or with the overwhelming majority of Americans who oppose this escalation," he said.

Democratic leaders in the House successfully pushed through the resolution on Friday, winning the support of 17 of the chamber's 201 Republican members.

The White House immediately dismissed the bill, noting that it was non-binding, and warned the Democrats against moving toward cutting off war funding.

The House voted 246-182 for the motion, which says "Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007" to send an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq.

It adds that "Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States armed forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq."

The vote ended a week of debate, the most serious organized on the Iraq war since the US-led invasion in March 2003. More than 3,100 US troops have since died.

"Some of our House colleagues claimed this week that this resolution is merely symbolic and meaningless," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said. "If they believe that the sentiments of the people's House expressed by an overwhelming majority is meaningless and only symbolic, then our democracy is at risk."

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