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White House, Congress Try to Negotiate a New Iraq Spending Bill

Talks follow Bush's veto of a measure that would have required a troop withdrawal to begin by October. Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

White House officials have begun talks with Congress on a war spending bill in place of the one President Bush vetoed on Tuesday.

He rejected it because the Democratic-controlled Congress tried to set a date for American troops to leave Iraq. The bill would have required a withdrawal to begin by October.

The spending measure totaled one hundred twenty-four billion dollars. One hundred billion of that would have gone to pay for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The veto was only the second of Mister Bush's presidency. The first was last year, to stop Congress from ending his restrictions on federal money for stem cell research.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to try to save the war spending bill that the president vetoed. But, as in the case of his first veto, there was not enough support for an override.

The president met with Democratic and Republican congressional leaders after the House failed to override his veto. He said he was hopeful that an agreement could be reached. And he called for it to be done quickly. Republican leaders said they hope for a new bill by the end of the month.

The president says it is time to move away from the political battles of recent days. He said three of his top advisers would be working with members of both parties to write an acceptable war funding bill.

Talks took place Thursday on Capitol Hill. The two sides agreed to meet again early next week and to keep details of their talks private. But Democratic leaders said they have not agreed to keep any language about troop withdrawals out of a replacement bill.

The administration said Mister Bush would not accept any bill that includes a time limit or suggested date for a withdrawal from Iraq.

Congress could also try to set goals for the Iraqi government.

Earlier this week, President Bush asked Americans to give his recent troop increase in Iraq more time. The war began in March of two thousand three.

A new public opinion study showed that more than seventy percent of Americans disapprove of the president's handling of the war. Two-thirds of those questioned for CBS News and the New York Times said they support setting a time limit for the withdrawal of troops.

President Bush says he wants American troops out of Iraq, but only when its own government is better able to control security.

Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Robert Byrd proposed Thursday that Congress cancel its resolution that approved the use of force in Iraq. They say the president should have to seek approval from Congress this October to continue the war. A presidential spokeswoman accused the Senate of trying, in her words, "another way to put a surrender date on the calendar."

IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English was written by Brianna Blake. Transcripts and audio files of our reports are online at I’m Steve Ember.