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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

U.S. House of Reps. passes war funding, 2008 withdrawal bill

RIA Novosti

26/04/2007 12:20 WASHINGTON, April 26 (RIA Novosti) - The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday to provide new war funding and set a timeframe for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, defying the president's veto threats.

The legislation sets a nonbinding goal for all U.S. troops to complete the withdrawal by March 31, 2008 attached to $124 billion funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Forces engaged in non-combat missions, such as attacking terrorist networks and training Iraqi forces, can remain beyond the date.

The Pentagon is to start sending troops home no later than October 1, if Iraq complies with some security commitments or no later than July 1, if it does not.

The bill, backed by 218 votes with 208 opposed, is expected to be approved in the Senate Thursday.

The passage follows negotiations in Democrat-led Congress seeking a compromise on previous versions passed last month by the House and the Senate. The bill approved by the House in March set the mandatory withdrawal of troops by September 1, 2008, while the Senate's bill contained a goal, not a requirement fixed for March 31.

President George Bush pledged in March that he would veto any bill containing demands for a withdrawal, as the U.S. could not afford a failure in its campaigns.

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