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Dems may try to add conditions to war funding

  • Story Highlights
  • Congress considers supplemental spending bill for wars in Iraq, Afghanistan
  • House Democrats want to include withdrawal timetable to war
  • Education benefits for veterans, renewable energy tax credits being considered
  • President Bush says he objects to measures that "micro-manages" war
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From Deirdre Walsh
CNN Congressional Producer
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- House Democrats are discussing a proposal to add money and conditions to a war funding bill despite President Bush's specific objections.


Democrats are considering a measure tying war funding to a timeline for troop withrawal.

The proposal would add a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq as a condition for the funding, several Democratic leadership aides said.

It would also add money for some of the Democrats' domestic priorities, including unemployment assistance, a new GI bill to fund education benefits for military veterans and a package of tax credits for renewable energy sources.

Democratic sources say the $178 billion measure would include $108 billion the president requested for military spending in 2008 and $70 billion to cover war costs in Iraq and Afghanistan through early 2009.

One of these aides noted that the details are in flux, saying leaders will meet Tuesday night to talk about "what can get 60 votes in the Senate and what the president will not veto. We want to avoid any appearance that we are porking this up."

Another Democratic aide said the House could pass a bill with a timeline and funding for the other domestic items, but the Senate would probably strip out most of them. The aide said there could be enough votes in the Senate to add the new GI Bill -- which has bipartisan support -- to the measure.

"This legislation is wise, it has consensus, it brings us together in a bipartisan way, and we are definitely going to leave no veterans behind," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said during a Capitol Hill rally Tuesday for a new GI Bill. "We are going to say 'thank you' to our vets by sending them to college."

Michael Steel, spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Republicans will oppose any additional items on the war funding bill. "The troop funding bill should be used for funding the troops."

Democrats have credited their opposition to the war in Iraq, now five years old and widely unpopular at home, for the 2006 election victories that gave them control of the House and Senate.

But previous efforts to bring troops home from Iraq have met with a veto by President Bush or been filibustered in the Senate by the president's Republican allies.

During a news conference Tuesday, Bush said he would not accept a supplemental bill that was larger than the money the Pentagon had requested, saying "$108 billion is $108 billion."

"I made my position very clear to Congress, and I will not accept a supplemental over $108 billion or a supplemental that micro-manages the war [and] ties the hands of our commanders," Bush said.

A vote on the House floor could come as early as next week. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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