Republicans Push For Action On Iraq War Funding Bill

Senate Republicans, moving on a two-week-old plan to use the spring recess to make news, plan to urge action, especially in the House, on passing the war funding supplemental bill.

Among their plans, the Senate Republican Conference was to send a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging that the House be called back from vacation to take up the measure or at least appoint members to the House-Senate conference planning to negotiate the package.

"This funding request has been pending since February 5, but your leadership team chose to leave town for more than two weeks rather than completing this bill. As a result, our troops have been put at risk," says the GOP letter. A copy was provided to U.S. News. It repeats warnings from top military leaders that if the supplemental isn't passed fast, funding for the war will start to dry up in April.

The measure passed by both chambers includes the war timeline that President Bush has pledged to veto. Republican officials are urging action so that he can issue his veto and then work on a follow-up bill to take its place. The GOP team said that they will step up calls for quick action tomorrow with a press conference and other actions.

It's part of a plan the GOP leadership drew up two weeks ago to use the vacation period both to slam Democrats for inaction on the war funding and to hype their own agenda and successes.

"The press doesn't really have much to write about this week, so we're going to deliver," said a leadership official.

By Paul Bedard