Iraq bill headed for a certain veto

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (AP)

Congress will send President George W. Bush an Iraq war spending bill next week that includes a withdrawal timeline. Bush will veto the bill and send it back to the Hill.

Another round of posturing on Capitol Hill while more American troops die and a deadly war continues in a far away land.

Reports The Associated Press:

President Bush next week is expected to receive, and swiftly reject, legislation ordering U.S. troops to begin coming home from Iraq this fall. The veto could fall on the fourth anniversary of the president’s Iraq "victory" speech.

The House on a 218-208 vote Wednesday passed a $124.2 billion supplemental spending bill that contains the troop withdrawal timetable. The Senate was expected to follow suit Thursday.

The legislation is the first binding challenge on the war that Democrats have managed to execute since they took control of both houses of Congress in January.

"The sacrifices borne by our troops and their families demand more than the blank checks the president is asking for, for a war without end," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said.

Democrats said the bill was on track to arrive on the president’s desk on Tuesday, the anniversary of Bush’s announcement aboard the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.

"The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on Sept. 11, 2001, and still goes on," Bush said on May 1, 2003, in front of a huge "Mission Accomplished" banner.

Bush since has acknowledged that the war campaign has not progressed as he had hoped. After the November elections in which Democrats swept up enough seats to take the majority, Bush announced a new strategy that involved sending additional forces to Iraq.

"Last November, the American people voted for a change in strategy in Iraq — and the president listened," White House spokesman Dana Perino said in a statement Wednesday. "Tonight, the House of Representatives voted for failure in Iraq — and the president will veto its bill."

Republicans labeled the timetable a "surrender date."

"Al-Qaida will view this as the day the House of Representatives threw in the towel," said Rep. Jerry Lewis of California, ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee.