U.S. House approves withdrawal deadline from Iraq

By Xinhua

Washington : The U.S. House of Representatives has approved legislation that requires the Bush administration to withdraw U.S. combat forces from Iraq by April 1, 2008, U.S. media reported Friday.

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The House voted 223-201, mostly along party lines, to approve the measure on Thursday, and the Senate is expected to adopt a similar measure next week in its debate on a military policy bill.

The vote marked the third time this year that the House has voted for withdrawal timetables for U.S. troops in Iraq. In April, Congress passed a war spending bill that would have set a pullout timetable, but the bill was vetoed by President George W. Bush in early May.

Under Thursday’s measure, the Pentagon would have to begin withdrawing combat troops within four months after the legislation’s enactment and complete the redeployment by April 1 next year.

At the Senate, a majority of senators favor withdrawing from Iraq. On Wednesday, 56 senators voted for an amendment that would have forced a drawdown of troops by expanding the required intervals between tours of combat duty. But the Senate failed in passing the measure because the number was short of the 60 votes needed under Senate rules.