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Senate Democrats Put Troop Withdrawal Timeline in War Spending Bill

Senate Democrats have drafted a $121.5 billion war spending bill that would direct President Bush to begin bringing home troops from Iraq with the goal of ending U.S. combat missions there in just over a year.

The provision is similar to a resolution the Senate narrowly rejected last week. It failed on a 50-48 vote, falling 12 votes shy of the 60 needed to pass, after President Bush vowed to veto the legislation.

"United States troops should not be policing a civil war, and the current conflict in Iraq requires principally a political solution," states a copy of the draft bill, obtained by The Associated Press. It would provide Bush with instructions to end combat operations there by March 31, 2008.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., released details to panel members Wednesday in anticipation of a committee vote on the bill on Thursday.

Republicans and even some Democrats are expected to bristle at the inclusion of the Iraq policy provision.

The House is expected to vote Thursday on a $124 billion spending bill that would finance the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The House bill would demand that troops are out of Iraq before September 2008, possibly sooner.