House Prepares to Debate Iraq Resolution

WASHINGTON (AP) – As the House prepared to debate a resolution opposing President Bush’s troop escalation in Iraq, the GOP House leader acknowledged that a number of Republicans are likely to support it.

“We’re going to have Republicans who are skeptical of (Bush’s) plan who’ll probably vote for this,” said House Minority Leader John Boehner. Asked if he thought House Republicans would lose a third of their members to the Democrats’ resolution, he said, “I don’t think we’ll lose that many.”

Boehner complained Sunday that Democrats had backed out of a promise to allow an immediate, wide-ranging debate on Iraq.

On Thursday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Republicans would be permitted to propose an alternative this week to the Democrats’ resolution. But on Sunday, Hoyer said that is “not necessarily our plan.”

Hoyer, D-Md., said a House vote will be limited to the proposed resolution opposing President Bush’s troop escalation and a Republican alternative would be voted on 30 to 45 days from now.

“Live up to your word,” Boehner, R-Ohio, told Hoyer. Democrats, Boehner said, “won’t even let us have a substitute. … Give us a vote this week.”

Boehner said Republicans want to offer a resolution saying a bipartisan panel should oversee the president’s plan, with benchmarks to keep track of whether it is progressing.

“You’re going to have that opportunity,” Hoyer replied.

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