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Leaders Outline House Iraq Resolution

House Democratic leaders announced Thursday that the chamber will take up a comparatively austere resolution next week disapproving of President Bush’s Iraq War strategy, and will not rely on legislation now stalled in the Senate.

The resolution, which House leaders said will be released Monday, is expected to consist of two provisions: one expressing general support for the military personnel and a second condemning Bush’s proposed increase of 21,500 troops.

“This is an up-or-down vote on the policy enunciated by the president,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) said at a Thursday morning press briefing.

While the House initially had planned to take up the resolution after the Senate had completed work on its version of the bill, progress in that chamber stalled Monday when parliamentary tactics prevented an up-or-down vote on the resolution as Democrats failed to get the 60 votes necessary to end debate and move to the underlying bill.

“This is a case … where less is more,” Emanuel said.

Debate on the bill is scheduled to take begin Tuesday and go through Thursday, with each Member receiving five minutes on the House floor. Republicans will be allowed a vote on one substitute measure but otherwise the bill will be closed to amendments.

“They are going to offer their alternative and we’ll have a vote on that,” Emanuel said.

House Democrats characterized a Thursday morning Caucus meeting on the resolution as agreeable, with Members largely unified on the simplified resolution.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) reiterated Thursday that the House will consider other measures on the Iraq War in coming months, including funding issues.

“This is just the first step. a first step of many steps available to Congress,” Hoyer said, citing the supplemental spending bill the House is set to take up following the Presidents Day recess in late-February, as well as fiscal 2008 spending bills.

In addition, House Foreign Affairs Chairman Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) said he has scheduled a hearing, expected to take about 6 hours, in early March to review each of the measures addressing Iraq that has been introduced in the House in the first weeks of the 110th Congress.

— Jennifer Yachnin

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