Susan Jones | Senior Editor | Thursday, November 15, 2007
The vote on Wednesday night was 218-203, with four Republicans joining 214 Democrats in support of the measure -- and 15 Democrats joining 188 Republicans in voting against it.
President Bush will veto the bill if it ever reaches his desk, which is unlikely, press reports said.
In a statement issued late Wednesday, the White House said the bill would only embolden the nation's enemies:
"Once again, the Democratic leadership is taking this debate down a well-worn path that calls for arbitrary withdrawal from the battlefield, despite the gains our military has made over the past year," the White House said.
"These votes, 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 White House said Congress has had plenty of time to pass troop funding legislation. "But because Congressional Democrats insist in going through another round of political votes and vetoes, Pentagon planners will be forced to focus on accounting maneuvers instead of military maneuvers."
Congress should send President Bush a "clean" emergency funding bill -- without "arbitrary withdrawal dates" -- before lawmakers leave for their December recess, the statement concluded.
Democrats say they're giving votes what they want.
"Democrats are committed to bringing the American people what they deserve and demand -- an end to President Bush's 10-year, trillion-dollar war," press reports quoted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as saying.
House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) noted that by Christmas, 3,000 U.S. troops will be returning home from Iraq -- "after achieving remarkable success in our fight against al Qaeda."
He said the bill passed by Democrats on Wednesday has no chance of becoming law -- and "represents yet another failure for Democratic leaders intent on putting politics before accomplishment."
Boehner said at a time when U.S. troops are routing al Qaeda in Iraq, improving security for the Iraqi people, and laying the foundation for political reconciliation in that country, "Congress should not undermine this success and risk having al Qaeda stand back up."
Members of Congress in both parties should recognize that the troop-surge strategy is working -- and "continue to solidify our troops' gains, and work to bring them home after victory, not defeat."
Boehner also put out another call for Democrats to complete work on legislation funding health care and housing benefits for veterans.
"Instead of working tirelessly to ensure defeat in Iraq, Congress should send the President a veterans and troops funding bill -- a bill that enjoys broad, bipartisan support in both the House and Senate," he said.
"But Democratic leaders have played politics with this critical legislation, stalling its completion to take up another proposal to tie the hands of General Petraeus and choke off funding for our troops -- even though they are now routing al Qaeda in Iraq and improving security for the Iraqi people."