Thursday, May 17, 2007
WASHINGTON -- The House rejected two measures Wednesday that would have required President Bush to seek congressional approval before attacking Iran.
The proposals were offered as amendments to a $646 billion defense policy bill for the 2008 budget year, which starts Oct. 1.
The first proposal, by Rep. Robert Andrews, D-N.J., would have prohibited money in the bill from being used to strike Iran without Congress' blessing; it fell by a 216-202 vote. A similar, but more sweeping measure offered by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., was rejected by a 288-136 vote.
The votes were primarily symbolic; Bush has not said he is planning to invade Iran. But because of missteps made in assessing pre-war intelligence on Iraq, many Democrats said the legislation was necessary.
"If it were any president I don't think we'd have to worry about this," said Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I.
A similar proposal on Iran initially was included in this year's war spending bill drafted by the House. But Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., agreed to remove the requirement after several Democrats said they were worried about Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
Those concerns were expressed again Wednesday by both Republicans and some Democrats who said the proposals would unnecessarily tie the president's hands and leave Israel and the United States vulnerable.
"No one wants another war," said Rep. Shelly Berkley, D-Nev. "But if we don't take a tough stance on Iran and maintain the threat of military action, Iran will get the message that we don't care if it gets nuclear weapons."
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