Congressman Dave Obey says today's vote sends a message to Iraq — and George W. Bush. The House of Representatives passed a $124 billion spending bill, that sets benchmarks for progress in Iraq, and requires withdrawal of American combat forces by the end of August 2008. Some in his party wanted that to happen earlier, but the Wausau Democrat says the votes weren't there.
The measure passed 218-212 and would still have to pass the Senate and a conference committee before going to the president, who vows to veto. Nevertheless, Obey says the message is loud and clear. “The president needs to understand, just like the Iraqis need to understand, that the day of rubber stamp Congress is over,” says Obey. “We are now exercising our constitutional responsibilities to provide checks and balances, and he needs to recognize that he's president, he's not king.” In a statement, Bush said the House action “does only one thing: it delays the delivering of vital resources for our troops.” He said “the Democrats have sent their message; now it's time to send their money.”