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President Bush Vetoes Iraq War Funding Bill

President Bush on Tuesday vetoed the $124 billion war funding bill, which included a timetable for troop pullout from Iraq. Two senators discuss what comes next.

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  • SPENCER MICHELS, NewsHour Correspondent:

    It's been five days since Democrats in Congress passed a $124 billion Iraq war funding bill, with a much-debated troop withdrawal timeline attached. However, their leaders chose today to send it off to the White House, exactly four years after President Bush declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq.

    SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), Senate Majority Leader: Today, right now, we renew our call to President Bush. There's still time to listen to the American people. There's still time to sign this bill and change course in Iraq.

    REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), Speaker of the House: I hope that he will listen to the American people, so that we can refocus our full attention on fighting the war on terror.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    But the president repeatedly has dismissed those pleas. And during a mid-day speech at U.S. Central Command headquarters in Tampa, he argued withdrawing troops at this point would bring greater chaos to Iraq.

    GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States: Withdrawal would have emboldened these radicals and extremists. It would have confirmed their beliefs that our nations were weak.

    It would help them gain new recruits, new resources. It would cause them to believe they could strike free nations at their choice. Withdrawal would have increased the probability that coalition troops would be forced to return to Iraq one day and confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    Congressional Democrats, however, insist U.S. combat troops begin leaving Iraq in July or October, depending on progress made by the Iraqi government. The goal would be to complete the withdrawal of troops by the end of March.

    SEN. BILL NELSON (D), Florida: The era of blank checks is over.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    Democrats also argue the president needs to recognize the mandate voters gave them last November to end the war quickly. California's Barbara Boxer.

    SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), California: He acts as if he is a one-man show when it comes to Iraq. And, Mr. President, the American people said no to that this past election. And yet it continues, as if there's no Congress, there's been no election, there's been no change of heart by the American people, when, in fact, there's been an enormous change of heart by the American people.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    But Missouri Republican Kit Bond argued withdrawal would lead to defeat in Iraq and that Democrats will shoulder the blame.

    SEN. KIT BOND (R), Missouri: If they pass — if we pass legislation that loses the war, then the people who vote to pass the legislation that ends the war are going to own it. That failure will be their failure.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    However, both Republicans and Democrats are well-aware that this bill, as currently written, has little chance of surviving any attempt to override the president's veto in either the House or the Senate.

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