Democrats to White House: Let's talk

March 27, 2007 at 9:42 PM

WASHINGTON, March 27 (UPI) -- Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives said Tuesday they are willing to negotiate with President Bush on an Iraq withdrawal deadline.

As the Senate moved towards passage of a bill that sets a March 31, 2008, deadline, five months earlier than the House, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn, the majority whip, sent out signals to the White House, Voice of America reported.

On Tuesday, the Senate rejected a Republican amendment that would have stripped the deadline from an emergency appropriations bill for Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush has said he will veto any bill containing a deadline.

Hoyer told reporters at a briefing that he would like the White House to be involved in negotiations to reconcile the House and Senate bills, although he rejected Bush's claim that the deadline means Congress is "micro-managing" the war.

"It would be my hope that the White House would get engaged with us, and what we would do is to produce a product that the House, Senate and the White House will agree to," Clyburn said.

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