Senate Approves Iraq Withdrawal, Sanders and Leahy Ask Bush to Reconsider Veto Threat

As the Senate for the first time approved legislation setting a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, Vermont Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy called on President Bush to withdraw his threat to veto the bill.

The Iraq withdrawal timetable is part of a $121 billion supplemental spending bill for Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur and other issues. President Bush Wednesday repeated his intention to veto any legislation that includes a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. The

WASHINGTON March 29 - As the Senate for the first time approved legislation setting a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, Vermont Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy called on President Bush to withdraw his threat to veto the bill. The Iraq withdrawal timetable is part of a $121 billion supplemental spending bill for Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur and other issues. President Bush Wednesday repeated his intention to veto any legislation that includes a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. The House last week passed a similar bill, and the two versions will now be reconciled in conference. "I hope the president changes his mind about vetoing this legislation," said Sanders. "The war has dragged on for too long, and we've got to bring home our troops. The Iraqi people must take responsibility for their own future." "The new Congress has offered a way out of Iraq, while the White House seems intent on digging us deeper into this civil war," said Leahy. "A veto would only add to the multitude of mistakes President Bush has made in this war and delay getting resources to our troops in the field. I hope he will reconsider." The Iraq redeployment language in the bill would require the president to begin a phased withdrawal of U.S. forces within the next four months. The redeployment of U.S. troops would be targeted for completion by this time next year, leaving only a residual force necessary to protect American diplomatic personnel, undertake Iraqi troop training, and carry out residual counterterrorism operations. The House last week passed related legislation, and the president has said he would veto any legislation containing a date for withdrawal.