The US House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday night
which would allocate US$50 billion for the Iraq war and require
President George W. Bush to start troop withdrawal from Iraq in
coming weeks with a goal of ending combat by mid December 2008.
However, the legislation that was passed 218-203 by the House
was considered as merely a symbolic defy at Bush's war policies,
since the White House has pledged to veto the bill, and Republican
congressmen vowed to back the president.
"The fact is, we can no longer sustain the military deployment
in Iraq," said Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "Staying
there in the manner that we are there is no longer an option."
However, the White House said in a statement that the votes for
the bill, "like the dozens of previous failed votes, put the
interests of radical interest groups ahead of the needs of our
military and their mission."
The bill only authorized about a quarter of the US$196 billion
that Bush has requested for war spending in Iraq and Afghanistan in
the fiscal year 2008 starting Oct 1.
But it demanded that the government should begin to order troop
withdrawal from Iraq within 30 days and end combat by Dec. 15,
The money included in the bill should be used to redeploy troops
and "not to extent or prolong the war," it added.
Apart from the timetable of troop withdrawal, the bill also
called for government-wide standards on interrogation to bar the
Central Intelligence Agency from using harsh techniques.
(Xinhua News Agency November 15, 2007)