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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In an unprecedented slap at President George W. Bush's war policy, the U.S. Congress on Thursday approved legislation that links withdrawal of combat troops to paying for the war, ensuring a certain veto.
Nonetheless, by a vote of 51-46, the Senate joined the House of Representatives in backing the hotly contested bill that would provide about $100 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this year while setting a deadline to withdraw U.S. forces over the next 11 months.
Bush has repeatedly warned he will not accept "surrender" dates for the war and there is little doubt he will reject the bill when it is sent to him next week.
"The troops had the courage and the strength to win the war, but the president has not had the wisdom to win the peace," said Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who called for a "new direction in Iraq."
Democrats, however, are unlikely to see the effort to defy Bush succeed because they do not think they have two-thirds support in Congress to overturn a presidential veto.
If there is a veto and it is not overturned, leaders would have to craft a new bill giving money to the troops in Iraq, possibly with some watered-down conditions Bush could accept, and leave the fight over withdrawing troops for future legislation.
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