The veto vote hewed closely to party lines, with 220 Democrats and two Republicans in favor of overriding the president, and 196 Republicans and seven Democrats voting to sustain him. Despite the magnitude of the issue, Bush’s victory on the veto was a foregone conclusion, and the one-hour debate on the House floor lacked suspense. While Pelosi and other Democrats took turns criticizing Bush, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, the Republican leader, said that terrorists had made Iraq the central focus of their war against the United States. “If we’re not going to stand up to them in Iraq, we’re not going to take them on in Iraq and defeat them there, where and when will we do it?” he asked. The day’s developments unfolded as the fourth of five brigades ordered into the war zone in January poured into Baghdad. Bush decided on the increased deployment as part of an attempt to quell sectarian violence. It was only the second time in 6 years he has rejected a bill sent to him. In his formal veto message, he wrote that “the micromanagement in this legislation is unacceptable.” He also claimed the original bill was unconstitutional for directing war operations “in a way that infringes upon the powers vested in the presidency.” Outside the White House, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid bristled at that claim. “We are not going to be submitting our legislation to somebody at one of the law schools to look for its constitutionality. We have an obligation, under the terms of the Constitution, to legislate,” he said. “That’s our job.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! There was early talk in both parties of setting goals for the government of Iraq to meet as it strives to develop a self-defending, democratic society, but no agreement on what form the goals should take or on how – or whether – to enforce them. “Make no mistake, Democrats are committed to ending this war,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, said on a day of carefully scripted political drama at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. “We hope to do so in unison with the president of the United States.” At the same time, Republicans who have helped Bush sustain his position quickly signaled a new impatience with a war that has claimed the lives of more than 3,300 U.S. troops. “Obviously the president would prefer a straight funding bill – no benchmarks, no conditions, no reports. Many of us on both sides of the aisle don’t agree with that,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. She expressed interest in a proposal to cut reconstruction aid to Iraq if the Baghdad government does not live up to its promises. Collins’ sentiment was echoed by several House Republicans, who said that while they had cast their votes to sustain the veto, they wanted to signal impatience with the administration’s policy and a war that is unpopular with the public. They spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not yet ready to differ publicly with the White House. WASHINGTON – Congress failed to override President George W. Bush’s veto of legislation requiring the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq on Wednesday, a defeat for anti-war Democrats that triggered immediate talks on a new measure to fund the conflict. The 222-203 House vote was 62 shy of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto. With few exceptions, Republicans stood fast with Bush in the wartime clash. The original vote on the bill was 218-208. “I’m confident we can reach agreement,” the president said moments after the vote as he sat down at the White House with leaders of the Democratic-controlled Congress, who have vowed repeatedly to force him to change his war policy. Democrats flashed defiance, yet signaled they were ready to make significant concessions, such as jettisoning a troop-withdrawal timetable and cutting some of the domestic funds that Bush opposes as part of the bill.
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