Troop Withdrawal Wins House Passage
Republicans Unite In Opposition

POSTED: 2:17 am CDT March 23, 2007
UPDATED: 12:28 pm CDT March 23, 2007

WASHINGTON -- After rancorous debate, the U.S. House has approved legislation challenging President George W. Bush to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq by fall 2008.

The vote was 218-212, mostly along party lines.

The war-funding measure is a victory for Democrats and Congress' boldest challenge yet to the administration's war strategy.

Democrats said it was time to heed the mandate of their election sweep last November, which gave them control of Congress.

"The American people have lost faith in the president's conduct of this war," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "The American people see the reality of the war; the president does not."

Democratic leaders worked for days to win enough votes to pass the bill and were in danger of losing some of their more liberal members who oppose any more money for the war. But other longtime opponents of the war plan to support the bill even though it provides more funding.

Republicans were largely united in opposing the bill.

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow called the House move "a wheel-spinning exercise." He said even if the bill passes, President George W. Bush will veto it and there's "zero chance" it will become law.

President George W. Bush is expected to make a public statement about the vote at 1:45 p.m. EDT.

A Senate committee approved a $122 billion measure Thursday financing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also requiring Bush to pull combat troops out of Iraq.

That bill calls for the troops to be out by next spring, rather than the fall as required in the House bill.