Congress Clears Iraq Bill, Veto Awaits
By DAVID ESPO
In a bold wartime challenge to President Bush, the Democratic-controlled Congress cleared legislation Thursday to begin withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. by Oct. 1 with a goal of a complete pullout six months later. The White House dismissed the legislation as "dead before arrival."
The 51-46 Senate vote was largely along party lines, and like House passage a day earlier it underscored that the war's congressional opponents are far short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a Bush veto.
Democrats marked Thursday's final passage with a news conference during which they repeatedly urged Bush to reconsider his veto threat. "This bill for the first time gives the president of the United States an exit strategy" from Iraq, said Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin.
The legislation is "in keeping with what the American people want," added Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
The White House was unmoved. "The president's determined to win in Iraq. I think the bill that they sent us today is mission defeated," said deputy press secretary Dana Perino. "This bill is dead before arrival."