Senate passes Iraq War funding bill: Obama says 'one signature away' from ending the war
As the Senate voted 51-46 to pass a supplemental funding bill for the Iraq War that the White House has threatened to veto, Senator Barack Obama put the onus on President George W. Bush to act and end the debate over the emergency defense spending bill.
"We are one signature away from ending the Iraq War. President Bush must listen to the will of the American people and sign this bill so that our troops can come home," Obama said in a statement released by his office.
The bill passed on a similar narrow margin last night in the House of Representatives, with a 218-208 vote. Two Republican senators, Gordon Smith of Oregon and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, sided with Democrats to support the heavily-negotiated bill which links $124 billion in military spending for Iraq and Afghanistan to a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke in an upbeat manner about the bill before it was passed.
The bill "sets us on a new course, away from a civil war with no end in sight toward a responsible phased redeployment that holds Iraqis accountable. This is a responsible plan for redeployment, not a precipitous withdrawal," he said.
But the president is expected to veto the bill rapidly, perhaps on Monday. The White House was already focused on the step to come next.
"I would imagine that you would see him meet with the congressional leadership quickly" to negotiate a spending plan he can sign, White House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino said Thursday.
RAW STORY reported last Friday that conservative and progressive Democrats may be coalescing around a funding strategy that would put the President on a "short leash" by funding the war in 60-day or other limited increments.
With additional reporting from wire services.