11/18/2005

House GOP Seeks Quick Vote on Iraq Pullout

House Republicans, seeing an opportunity, maneuvered for a quick vote and swift rejection Friday of a Democratic lawmaker's call for an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq.

"We want to make sure that we support our troops that are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. "We will not retreat."

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California had no immediate reaction to the idea of a quick vote before Congress leaves Washington for two weeks.

GOP leaders decided to act little more than 24 hours after Rep. John Murtha, a hawkish Democrat with close ties to the military, said the time had come to pull out the troops.

By forcing the issue to a vote, Republicans placed many Democrats in a politically unappealing position — whether to side with Murtha and expose themselves to attacks from the White House and congressional Republicans, or whether to oppose him and risk angering the voters that polls show want an end to the conflict.

Murtha offered a resolution that would force the president to withdraw the nearly 160,000 troops in Iraq "at the earliest practicable date." It would establish a quick-reaction force and a nearby presence of Marines in the region.

House Republicans planned to put to a vote — and reject — their own resolution that simply says: "It is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately."

House GOP Seeks Quick Vote on Iraq Pullout

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