Thursday, February 08, 2007

House Democrats Set Framework for Iraq Vote

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 — House Democratic leaders said today that the Iraq war resolution scheduled to be debated next week would be limited to President Bush’s plan to dispatch more troops to Baghdad, leaving any controversial decisions over war spending for a later discussion.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, and other party leaders met with members of the Democratic caucus for more than an hour today to discuss the framework of the first major debate over Iraq since Democrats took control of Congress last month. The three-day debate is set to begin next Tuesday.

The leaders reassured Democrats that the nonbinding, symbolic vote against the troop buildup plan would be the first — not the final — expression of opposition to the war. A letter signed by 71 House Democrats urged the party’s leaders to take a stronger stance, including outlining a six-month troop withdrawal plan.

“There’s no doubt that everybody in the caucus understands that this is a first step — an important step for Congress to express their view of support or opposition to the escalation and the increase of troop levels,” said Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader.

The Iraq resolution will allow lawmakers to voice their support for the troops, Mr. Hoyer said, even as they state their opposition to the Bush administration’s Iraq policy.


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