WASHINGTON – House lawmakers rejected a timetable to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq on Friday in a Republican push to put war positions on the record.
The House passed a nonbinding resolution in a 256-153 vote that would praise U.S. troops, link the Iraq war to the global War on Terror and reject an "arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment" for not being in the national interest.
"Today, the House of Representatives voted to stand up for freedom. We are pleased that 42 Democrats defied their leadership and stood with House Republicans to support both our troops and their mission to win the global War on Terror," House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said in a statement.
Forty-two Democrats voted for the resolution and three Republicans voted against it.
"I will vote against this resolution because it is an affirmation of the president's failed policy in Iraq," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "The war in Iraq has been a grotesque mistake .. stay the course? I don't think so, Mr. President."
Republicans countered Democrats' arguments by defending the war and the need to keep U.S. forces in war-torn Iraq to hunt down terrorists and insurgents.
“This is a war of necessity that we must fight,” said House Majority Leader Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, adding that "retreat is not an option in Iraq."
The White House praised the passage of the resolution as a step to show support for the troops and the War on Terror, an administration official told FOX News.
The House vote follows the Senate's rejection in a 93-6 vote Thursday to a similar proposal that would allow "only forces that are critical to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces" to stay in Iraq in 2007. Click here to see how your senator voted.
Senate Democrats promised to bring the issue back up next week through a proposal to start redeploying troops this year.
Republicans pushed the debate with four months left before voters hit the polls for midterm elections that could change control of the House and Senate.
Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., said he voted for the resolution because he supports U.S. troops and believes in the mission in Iraq.
“We must defend the values of this country, we must protect our allies … and we must be resolute in how to protect the men and women in the field,” Foley said. “There are young men and women who are in harm’s way and for us to be second guessing them here at home in the sanctity of the chamber of the United States Congress, undermines their commitment."
Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., said supporters of the resolution were wrong to say a redeployment deadline would help the terrorists. He voted against the resolution.
"The reality is that the terrorists are using our continued presence as a rallying cry and a recruitment tool. To suggest that we're losing credibility around the world, we've lost it, I think we need to regain it," Moran said.
Democrats used the opportunity to again demand a change in Iraq policy, while Republicans defended the war as an important part of fighting the global War on Terror.
"If we stay, we're gonna pay," said Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa.
Other measures to get the war in Iraq on record came through a 74-page "debate prep book" issued by the Pentagon to Republicans and Democrats with ready-made answers to criticism of the war.
"We cannot cut and run," the battle plan says at one point in response to Democratic calls for a timetable for troop withdrawal.
Meanwhile, President Bush signed an emergency supplemental bill into law on Thursday that allocates $66 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan on the same day that the Pentagon released new numbers that the U.S. death toll in Iraq had reached 2,500.
"It's a number," White House press secretary Tony Snow said, adding that Bush "feels very deeply the pain that the families feel."
The president's surprise trip to Iraq, the killing of Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi last week and a new Iraqi government recently brought positive news to Americans.
Bush's job approval numbers climbed to 40 percent, according to a new FOX News poll. The approval rating is out of the thirties for the first time since February, up 5 percentage points from 35 percent approval in mid-May.
FOX News' Major Garrett and The Associated Press contributed to this report.