efforts to bring troops home from Iraq, Senate Democrats
helped pass a defense policy bill authorizing another $150
billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
vote comes as the House planned to approve separate
legislation Tuesday that requires President Bush to give
Congress a plan for eventual troop withdrawals.
underscored the difficulty facing Democrats in the Iraq
debate: They lack the votes to pass legislation ordering
troops home and are divided on whether to cut money
for combat, despite a mandate by supporters to end the
political landscape changes in coming months, Democratic
leaders say they will renew their fight when Congress
considers the money Bush wants in war funding.
While the Senate
policy bill authorizes the money to be spent, it does
not guarantee it; Bush will have to wait until Congress
passes a separate appropriations bill before war funds
are transferred to military coffers.
''I think that's
where you're going to see the next dogfight,'' said
Senate majority leader Harry Reid of the upcoming war
their options include directing that the money be spent on
bringing troops home instead of combat; setting a date when
money for the war is cut off, and identifying a goal
to end the war to try to pressure Bush to bring troops
have been made but fell short of the 60 votes needed to
overcome procedural hurdles in the Senate.
''Many of us have
reached a breaking point on this,'' said Senate
majority whip Dick Durbin. ''I've done this for too many
years. I've waited for the president to start bringing
this war to an end. I'm not going to sign up for this
In the House,
Democrats are pushing for a bill that would require the
administration to report to Congress in 60 days and every 90
days thereafter on the status of its redeployment
plans in Iraq.
sponsored by Democrats John Tanner of Tennessee and Neil
Abercrombie of Hawaii, was initially cast aside as too mild
by Democratic leaders focused on tougher proposals
ordering troops home this fall.
Democrats were unable to peel off Republican support, the
Iraq debate stalled and some four dozen rank-and-file
Democrats demanded a vote on the Abercrombie-Tanner
''This will be
the first time since the war in Iraq began that we are
working together as a Congress instead of one party or
another to be a constructive voice in the civilian
management of operations in Iraq,'' Tanner said in a
statement e-mailed to the Associated Press.
In February, Bush
requested more than $140 billion for the war, and is
expected to ask for another $42 billion to cover costs in
the 2008 budget year, which began Monday. The Senate's
defense policy bill authorizes Bush's initial request,
plus an additional $23 billion for the purchase of
In addition to
war money, the Senate's defense policy bill authorizes
more than a half trillion dollars in annual military
programs, including such big-ticket items as $10.1
billion for missile defense.
predict the bill is on track to be vetoed by President Bush
because it includes hate-crimes legislation by Sen. Edward
Kennedy. The White House has said Kennedy's proposal,
which would let federal law enforcement help states
prosecute attacks on gays, is unnecessary.
The House passed
its version of the defense authorization bill in May by
a 397-27 vote. That $646 billion measure would trim hundreds
of millions of dollars from some weapons modernization
programs and use the money instead to aid troops in
The House bill
has drawn a veto threat from the White House because of
provisions insisting the military rely heavily on
American-made products and proposed changes to the
Pentagon's personnel policies. (Anne Flaherty,