What Will Bush Say?
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have now officially passed the bill giving a deadline for pullout in Iraq, according to articles from the Washington Post (printed in the Pioneer Press) and the New York Times.
The bill, which would approve $124 billion dollars in military spending, also contains a demand for troops to be pulled out by October 1 of this year. According to the Washington Post article:
"The bill also establishes benchmarks for the Iraqi government to meet:
# Create a program to disarm militias.
# Reduce sectarian violence.
# Ease rules that purged the government of all former Baath Party members.
# Approve a law on sharing oil revenue.
If the Bush administration does not determine by July 1 that those benchmarks are being met, troops would begin coming home immediately. The goal would be to complete those withdrawals by the end of the year.
If the benchmarks are being met, troops would begin coming home no later than Oct. 1, with a goal of completing the troop pullout by April 1, 2008."
Bush has vowed to veto the bill when it reaches his desk on Monday, only the second veto of his presidential career. The veto will also come almost exactly to the day that four years ago Bush proclaimed and end to major combat.
According to the New York Times article on the Thursday Senate approval of the bill: Overall in the congressional vote over the last two days, "On the final vote, 216 Democrats and 2 Republicans supported the bill; 195 Republicans and 13 Democrats opposed it. The legislation provides more than $95 billion for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through Sept. 30, with the money conditioned on the administration’s willingness to accept a timetable for withdrawal and new benchmarks to assess the progress of the Iraqi government."
The Senate vote was 51-46, quite short of the 2/3 majority benchmark that would be needed for them to override a presidential veto.
On a final note, I thought both papers covered the events very thoroughly, which I appreciated. Along with some analysis of what will likely happen in the future, they are doing the best they can to provide this information to curious Americans.