Bush Raises The Stakes

President Bush challenged Congress Monday to approve more money for the war in Iraq before leaving Washington for the holidays, setting up the prospect that he may call for a special session to force lawmakers to allocate those funds. 

"It's unconscienable to deny funds to our troops in harm's way because some in Congress want to force a self-defeating policy, especially when we're seeing the benefits of success," Bush said at a Monday morning news conference in the White House Rose Garden.

His comments represent a little bit of legislative brinksmanship the day before members return to Washington for what promises to be a frenzied December session.

The president warned Congress that the Army would run out of money in March and the Pentagon would have to lay-off as many as 100,000 non-military support personnel to save money for the military effort.

Democrats and other outside budget groups have disputed those fiscal projections in the past, arguing the Department of Defense has the money necessary if officials re-allocate it properly.

Bush was clearly trying to capitalize, in part, on comments various Democrats made last week acknowledging the escalation of U.S. troops in Iraq over the summer has helped quell violence in the war-torn country, particularly those remarks by Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha, a prominent critic of the war who also controls the Pentagon's budget.