US House passes bill to withdraw troops from Iraq
Defying a White House veto threat, the US House of Representatives on Thursday approved legislation to bring combat troops out of Iraq by April 1, 2008.
By a vote of 223-201, the Democratic-controlled House approved the legislation in the hope it will pressure the Senate to attach a similar mandatory troop withdrawal timetable to a military policy bill it is debating.
Passage of the House bill marked the third time this year has voted for timetables to end the US involvement in the war that is now in its fifth year. Two previous efforts either died in the Senate or were vetoed by President George W Bush.
The measure that passed on Thursday would tell the Pentagon to begin withdrawing combat troops within four months and complete the redeployment by April 1.
Under the bill, an unspecified number of US soldiers would stay in Iraq to train Iraqi soldiers, conduct counter-terrorism operations and protect US diplomats.