War funding-Iraq troop withdrawal bill comes before US Senate Thursday after House approval by 218-208 vote

Under the $124.2 bn measure, withdrawals must begin by Oct. 1, 2007 – sooner if the Iraqi government does not meet benchmarks for political progress. Some forces will remain for non-combat missions even after a nonbinding goal set by the bill for completing the pull-out by April 1, 2008.
Two Republicans, Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland and Walter Jones of North Carolina joined the Democratic majority, while 13 Democrats voted with the nos. Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus tried making the case that the new security strategy was just beginning and needed more time to work. He promised more information in September, the first time this date has been mentioned. The general reported that progress in the western Anbar province was “breathtaking” but the ability of al Qaeda “to conduct horrific, sensational attacks has represented a setback…”
The measure goes to the Senate Thursday night before reaching the president’s desk. George W. Bush has announced he will exercise his veto.

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