US House fails to override Bush’s veto

By Xinhua

Washington : The US House of Representatives has failed to override President George W. Bush’s veto of a war spending bill setting a deadline for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

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The vote fell 62 votes short of the necessary two-thirds majority in the 435-seat House to override the veto, Bush’s second during his presidency.

A total of 220 Democrats and two Republicans voted to override the veto, while 196 Republicans and seven Democrats voted to sustain the veto.

Before the vote on the House floor, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called legislators of both parties to vote to override the veto.

“I had hoped that the president would see the light instead of turning a tin ear to the wishes of the American people and a blind eye to what is happening on the ground in Iraq,” she said.

“The Congress will not support an open-ended commitment to a war without end. The president says he wants a blank check. The Congress will not give it to him,” she said.

Pelosi said Congress was substituting its judgment for the president’s “failed judgment” in setting the withdrawal timeline, and that “the American people have lost faith in the president’s conduct of the war”.

She said the war on terrorism was in Afghanistan, but accused the Bush administration of taking its attention from Afghanistan to go into Iraq, and “now Iraq is a magnet for terrorists”.

“The war in Iraq has made matters worse for the war on terrorism,” said Pelosi. “Now we are into the fifth year of a failed policy… It’s not working.”

The Democratic-led Congress sent the bill Monday, the fourth anniversary of his “Mission Accomplished” speech, in which he declared on May 1, 2003, that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.

The war, however, has dragged on, and has claimed the lives of over 3,300 American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis and has become increasingly unpopular with the American public.

The bill, which would require the Bush administration to start withdrawing US troops from Iraq by Oct 1, with a goal of ending US combat operations there by next March, was designed to provide nearly $100 billion for American military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan this year.

With the House failing to override Bush’s veto, legislators would have to propose a new war-spending bill to provide money for this year’s US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.