The Democrat’s attempt to reverse Mr. Bush’s veto of a war-funding bill with a troop withdrawl timetable for Iraq failed in a 222-203 vote, more than 60 votes short of the needed two-thirds majority, which also would have had to have been mustered in the Senate.
The Washington Post reports that the vetoed legislation, which originally passed both chambers of Congress on near party-line votes, would have started a troop withdrawal as early as July 1 and no later than Oct. 1 if the Iraqi government did not meet certain policy benchmarks. Mr. Bush opposed the measure because of what he called Congress’ attempt to usurp his power as commander in chief.
Mr. Hoyer said Democrats can turn to other legislation — including upcoming Defense Department budget bills — to challenge Mr. Bush’s war policy.
Earlier yesterday, Mr. Bush, in the most vigorous defense of his Iraq policy in some time, said al Qaeda was still “public enemy No. 1 in Iraq,” adding that the war in that country would be won when violence was reduced to a level with which average citizens could live.