U.S. President George W. Bush is set to veto a new bill drafted by Democrats that will fund the Iraq war only through July, the White House said Wednesday.
White House press secretary Tony Snow told reporters that "there are restrictions on funding and there are also some of the spending items that were mentioned in the first veto message that are still in the bill," something Bush will not accept.
When asked directly if Bush will veto the new bill, Snow responded with "yes."
Proposed by House Democratic leaders Tuesday the new bill, which will give Bush half the money he has requested for the war effort, with a vote in July on whether to approve the rest, hinges on the Iraqi government's progress in meeting political benchmarks.
Representative David R. Obey, the Democratic chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said the new bill will give Bush two more months to make his case for sustaining the war and Congressional war opponents an equal chance of prevailing.
White House officials and Republican lawmakers expressed reservations, suggesting that it was essentially an effort to pay for the war in short installments.
Representative Steny H. Hoyer, the House majority leader, expected the House to vote on the new measure Thursday.
On May 1, Bush vetoed a war funding bill which would require his administration to start withdrawing troops from Iraq by Oct. 1, with a goal of ending U.S. combat operations there by next March.
The new bill is aimed at appeasing left-wing Democrats who want a quick end to the war and are unwilling to back down after Bush's veto.
However, without an absolute majority in the Congress, it is unclear whether the new measure will clear its way through the Congress before reaching Bush's desk.