Democrats in the Senate passed by a 51-46 vote today the Iraq bill that would require the start of troop withdrawals from Iraq by Oct. 1, after the House did so yesterday. Bush will veto the measure sometime next week. It is unclear if the House will hold an override vote or not since the votes aren't there, but Senate leaders have said they won't independently of the House.
Democrats are still considering what to do after Bush's veto. One option would be funding the war through September only, when Gen. David Petraeus has promised the troop "surge" should so show substantial signs of working. It is believed that if that promise is not met by then, more Republicans in Congress will begin breaking away from President Bush.
Rep. Murtha, who chairs the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, has said the new bill will also have benchmarks that the Iraqi government must meet, but the 2008 military budget to be considered by Congress in June is where we will see the next big battle.
Despite claims from the White House to the contary, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has said the Army has enough bookkeeping flexibility to pay for operations in Iraq well into July. Lawmakers and Capitol Hill staff aides view mid- to late May as the deadline for completing the war spending bill.