US Congress rejects immediate withdrawal from Iraq

The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly rejected calls for an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq, a vote engineered by the Republicans that was intended to fail. Democrats derided the vote as a political stunt. The House voted 403-3 to reject Friday a nonbinding resolution calling for an immediate troop withdrawal. Republican leadership pushed the issue to a vote over the protest of Democrats. It was the second time in less than a week that President George W. Bush's Iraq policy stirred heated debate in Congress. On Tuesday, the Senate defeated a Democratic push for Bush to lay out a timetable for withdrawal. Murtha, a 73-year-old Marine veteran decorated for combat service in Vietnam, issued his call for a troop withdrawal at a news conference on Thursday. In little more than 24 hours, Hastert and Republicans decided to put the question to the House. Democrats said it was a political stunt and quickly decided to vote against it in an attempt to drain it of significance.