tampabay.com

Democrats weigh options on Iraq after expected veto

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published April 23, 2007


WASHINGTON - Democrats are considering their next step after President Bush's inevitable veto of their war spending proposal, including a possible short-term funding bill that would force Congress to revisit the issue this summer.

Another alternative is providing the Pentagon the money it needs for the war but insisting that the Iraqi government live up to certain political promises. Or, the congressional Democrats could send Bush what he wants for now and set their sights on 2008 legislation.

The options are being weighed as Bush and Congress head toward a showdown this week on his Iraq policy. House and Senate appropriations meet today to negotiate a final bill that could reach the president's desk as early as the end of the week.

Army Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the Iraq war, is expected to brief lawmakers as they cast their final vote.

The legislation is expected to fund the war but call for combat troops to leave, probably by March 31, 2008. Bush has promised to reject it and Republicans say they will back him, leaving Democrats short of the two-thirds majority support needed to override the veto.