Bush urges Congress to pass defence bill


Washington : US President George W. Bush Friday urged Congress to put politics aside and move forward on a defence spending bill to ensure US troops in Iraq are funded.

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Bush faulted the Democratic controlled Congress for engaging in political theatrics rather than addressing the needs of the troops.

"The Democratic leaders chose to have a political debate on a precipitous withdrawal of our troops from Iraq," Bush said at the White House.

The Democrats in the Senate failed to pass a measure this week that would have ordered Bush to begin troops withdrawals within 120 days and bring an end to the US combat role in April. The House of Representatives passed a similar measure.

Bush has rejected placing timetables on the US mission in Iraq, and has urged Congress to give more time for the troop surge he ordered this year to succeed.

"Failure in Iraq would increase the probability that at some later date American troops would have to return to Iraq, to confront an enemy more dangerous and more entrenched," Bush said.

Bush pointed to the recent capture of top Al Qaeda figures in Iraq as evidence the increased US presence is working.

"These successes demonstrate the gains our troops are making in Iraq and the importance of giving our military the time they need to give their new strategy a chance to work," Bush said.

Congress is set to go into August recess without having passed a defence budget bill. The US government fiscal year ends Sep 30.