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Home >> World
UPDATED: 10:16, May 11, 2007
Bush says he is open to benchmarks in Iraq bill
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In a political shift, U.S. President George W. Bush said Thursday that he is willing to work with lawmakers to include benchmarks for the performance of the Iraqi government in a war spending bill.

However, he also reaffirmed that he will veto any bill to cover only the costs of war in next two months when speaking to reporters at Pentagon.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on such a bill Thursday evening.

The idea of "benchmarks" has been raised by members of both parties in the Senate as a means to put pressure on the Iraqi government to bringing political stability to the country.

Most discussions of benchmarks have involved the Iraqis passing a new oil-sharing bill, updating the Iraqi constitution, and holding provincial elections.

Bush had been rejecting the idea of including benchmarks in a funding bill.

However, he seemed to change position Thursday, saying "it makes sense to make benchmarks part of our discussion on how to go forward."

Bush also said he had asked his chief of staff, Joshua Bolten, to "find common ground" with Congress on benchmarks.

Last week, the president vetoed a war funding bill because it included a timetable to withdraw combat forces by the end of next March.

The White House said Wednesday that Bush will veto a new bill drafted by Democrats that will give him half the money he has requested for the war effort, with a vote in July on whether to approve the rest.

In Thursday's remarks, Bush again dismissed the new bill.

"We reject that idea. It won't work," the president said, blaming Democrats for the delay of war funding.

Source: Xinhua


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