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The Nation

Senate Pair Calls for Iraq Deadline

Democrats Kerry and Feingold want U.S. troops withdrawn by July 1, 2007.

June 21, 2006|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Two potential 2008 presidential candidates appealed Tuesday for the Senate to support their call to withdraw U.S. combat troops from Iraq "by a hard and fast deadline," a position putting them at odds with most of their fellow Democrats.

"Our country desperately needs a new vision for strengthening our national security, and it starts by redeploying U.S. forces out of Iraq," Sens. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts and Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin wrote in an e-mail sent to 3 million people nationwide.

In what promises to be a highly partisan election-year showdown Wednesday, the GOP-controlled Senate plans to take up the proposal by Kerry and Feingold that would require the Bush administration to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq by July 1, 2007.

Redeployment would begin immediately, under the proposal.

At least six other Democrats have publicly or privately indicated support for that position. The Senate will vote on the proposal by week's end.

The Senate also will consider, and eventually vote on, a separate nonbinding resolution that has the backing of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and, his aides say, a majority of Democrats.

It would call for -- but not require -- the administration to begin "a phased redeployment of U.S. forces" this year, and would not set a firm deadline by which time all forces must be out of the war zone.

Democratic sponsors of both proposals pitched their positions during the party's weekly policy luncheon on Tuesday.

However, neither Democratic proposal is expected to win enough votes to be attached as an amendment to an annual military measure pending in the Senate.

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