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House Rancor Leads to No Timetable on Iraq

An emotional debate in the House of Representatives on the war in Iraq ended today with passage of a Republican-drafted resolution. In a 256-153 vote, 42 Democrats crossed party lines to approve a document that rejects a set date for withdrawing U.S. troops from the conflict.

With midterm elections less than five months away, Republicans sought to portray Democrats as weak on defense, while Democrats cast Republicans as embracing a war most Americans have turned against.

Republicans said the debate and vote was good news for the Bush administration, but Democratic opponents called it an election-year charade.

For many House Republicans the thirteen hour long debate on Iraq was a political gift: It gave them a chance to attack who say it's time to get out of Iraq. Only three Republicans voted against the resolution, while another two voted simply "present."

Senate Democrats are struggling to find common ground for a resolution on withdrawing troops from Iraq. Thursday, the Senate laid aside an amendment drawn up by Massachusetts Democrat John Kerry -- but introduced by Senate Republicans -- to withdraw troops by year's end. Kerry says he will re-introduce the amendment next week.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

David Welna
David Welna is NPR's national security correspondent.