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Iraq Supplemental Likely to Wait Until 2008

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told liberal lawmakers on Tuesday that a new supplemental spending bill to fund the Iraq War is not likely to reach the House floor until 2008.

“It probably won’t come up until January,” said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the Out of Iraq Caucus who attended the meeting along with Reps. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), the co-chairwomen of the Progressive Caucus.

“What we discussed was everybody working to make our troops as safe as possible,” Waters added of the meeting, which focused on Iraq.

A Pelosi spokesman said no final decision has been made, but declined to comment on the meeting, stating: “Speaker Pelosi continues to work with the members of the Caucus to end the president’s 10-year war.”

Democrats criticized the Bush administration’s war strategy in September after U.S. commander in Iraq Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker testified before committees in both chambers, asserting the plan would extend the Iraq War another 10 years.

Although House lawmakers had at one time been expected to take up debate on the supplemental spending bill as early as September, Democratic sources confirmed that the debate could move back into January or later.

The January date would not require Congress to pass any intermediate funding, the sources said, asserting the continuing funding resolution approved by the House on Wednesday would provide sufficient war money through that time.

That spending bill, required because none of the 12 fiscal 2008 spending bills have been signed into law, would fund the Defense Department at 2007 levels, including an allowance for military involvement in both Iraq and Afghanistan based on a $70 billion bridge fund approved in 2006.

The White House is expected to request close to $200 billion in the new supplemental spending bill, but the Bush administration has yet to deliver details of that request to the House.

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