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Senate Supplemental to Revisit Limiting Troop Deployments

The Senate version of the supplemental Iraq War spending bill will take another stab at forcing the Bush administration to limit deployments of troops to Iraq, but a GOP-led filibuster could once again fell the language when the measure comes to the Senate floor next week.

According to a Democratic source, language under consideration by the Senate Appropriations Committee includes a provision that would require most military units to be deployed for no more than a year and require that they spend at least a year at home before being redeployed to a war zone. Those provisions could be waived by the president for national security reasons.

But the measure will have to be reconciled with the House version of the supplemental, which is still be hammered out by House Democratic leadership, who hope to bring it to the floor this week.

A similar measure fell four votes short of a filibuster-proof majority earlier this year, with Republicans arguing that Sen. Jim Webb’s (D-Va.) so-called “dwell time” amendment constituted a backdoor attempt to force a withdrawal from Iraq.

The Appropriations Committee is also considering language requiring troops to be certified “mission capable” before deployments. The measure may also include a nonbinding sense of the Senate language stating that U.S. forces should end combat missions by June 2009 and transition to a mission of counter-terrorism, training of Iraqi forces, and protection of U.S. interests.

Other provisions being discussed for inclusion in the Senate supplemental are a prohibition on the U.S. entering into a security commitment with the Iraqi government and a ban on an agreement to subject U.S. forces to Iraqi criminal courts.

The committee mark may also require U.S. intelligence agencies to notify the International Red Cross that they are holding detainees and provide the nonprofit group with access to those individuals.

As anticipated, the supplemental is also expected to contain language authored by Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) to require Iraqis to pay for their own reconstruction costs as well as a provision calling for an agreement with Iraq to subsidize fuel costs for U.S. troops. Unlike the other restrictions included in the supplemental, the Nelson-Collins provision has received broad bipartisan support.

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