- Title: USA: US Senate votes against March Iraq war withdrawal
- Date: 17th May 2007
- Summary: (W5) BAGHDAD, IRAQ (MARCH 06, 2007) (REUTERS) U.S. HUMVEE AND POLICE VEHICLE IN SADR CITY
- Embargoed: 1st June 2007 13:00
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Topics: War / Fighting,International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVAA5G5R0O45QJZJYDJNN5G3OJK0
- Story Text: The U.S. Senate votes against a Democratic proposal that would have set a date for troop withdrawal from Iraq, but it approves a Republican plan that would place conditions on new U.S. aid to Baghdad. The U.S. Senate on Wednesday (May 16) voted overwhelmingly against withdrawing all combat troops from Iraq by March 31. A majority of senators embraced an alternative plan tying U.S. reconstruction funds to Baghdad's progress in stabilizing the country.
` The Senate's votes, while nonbinding, were orchestrated to ease passage on Thursday of a war-funding bill so that House of Representatives and Senate negotiators can get to work on a compromise that President George W. Bush could sign by the end of May.
By a vote of 67-29, the Senate rejected an amendment by Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin to cut off all funds for combat by March 31.
Feingold said before the vote, "Iraq's problems will not be solved by an open-ended, massive U.S. military engagement."
His fellow Democrats maintained after the vote that the plan was still the right way to end the war.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said vote total represented an overwhelming rejection of Feingold's withdrawal timeline.
The House defeated a similar measure last week, but supporters were heartened by the 171 votes it attracted.
However, the Senate by a vote of 52 to 44 embraced a Republican plan that would condition new U.S. aid for rebuilding Iraq on Baghdad's progress in bringing political stability and military security. The measure was sponsored by Sen. John Warner of Virginia. It require Bush to deliver reports on Iraq in July and September.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, called Warner's plan tepid. He said, "The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating. It requires actions, certainly not more reports.
The Democratic-led Congress has been tangling with President Bush all year over the Iraq war. On May 1, Bush vetoed a $124 billion bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan because Democrats included timetables for withdrawing troops.
Sen. Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, said passage of the Warner proposal was a sign that Republicans were "getting nervous about supporting the president blindly."
Bush is deploying 30,000 more troops to Iraq in a last-ditch effort to stop a slide into all-out sectarian civil war between majority Shi'ites and Sunni Arabs who were dominant under Saddam Hussein.
More than 3,400 U.S. troops have been killed since the 2003 invasion to oust Saddam.
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