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US may look at other options to fund Iraq war, says Bush

Bush criticised the Democrats for delay in passing the supplemental Iraq war bill.

world Updated: Apr 11, 2007 11:43 IST

Criticising the Democrats for the delay in passing the supplemental war bill on Iraq, President George W Bush has warned that the US might have to look for other options to continue operations in the Asian country if Capitol Hill did not come up with a "clean" legislation.

"When it comes to funding our troops, we have no time to waste. So I'm inviting Congressional leaders from both parties to meet me at the White House next week.

"We can discuss the way forward on a bill that is clean, that funds our troops without artificial timetables for withdrawal without handcuffing our generals on the ground. I'm hopeful we'll see some results soon from the Congress," Bush said during a speech on the Iraq Supplemental at Faifax, Virginia on Tuesday.

"I know we have our differences over the best course in Iraq. These differences should not prevent us from getting our troops the funding they need without withdrawal.

Continuing his criticism of the Democrats, Bush said, "Democratic leaders in Congress are bent on using a bill that funds our troops to make a political statement about the war.

They need to do it quickly and get it to my desk so I can veto it. And then Congress can get down to the business of funding our troops without strings and without further delay".

"It is irresponsible for the Democratic leadership in Congress to delay for months while our troops in combat are waiting for the funds they need to succeed," Bush said.

"In the coming days, our military leaders will notify Congress that they will be forced to transfer $1.6 billion from other military accounts to cover the shortfall caused by their failure to fund our troops in the field.

That means our military will have to take money from personnel accounts so they can continue to fund US Army operations in Iraq and elsewhere," he said.

This $1.6 billion in transfers comes on top of another $1.7 billion in transfers that US military leaders notified Congress about last month, Bush said.

"If Congress fails to pass a bill I can sign by mid-May, the problems grow even more acute," he said.

"The bottom line is this: Congress' failure to fund our troops will mean that some of our military families could wait longer for their loved ones to return from the front lines.

Others could see their loved ones headed back to war sooner than anticipated."

"This is unacceptable to me, to our veterans, to our military families, and it's unacceptable to many in this country," the President said.

Elaborating Bush's stand further, White House Spokeswoman Dana Perino said, "The President will not accept a timetable for withdrawal.

He will not accept micromanagement from Capitol Hill on his generals".