By Hilary Corrigan
Triplicate staff writer
A day after Democrats introduced a similar plan in Congress, Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., promoted his resolution to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.
In a press conference Friday with Rep. Patrick Murphy, D- Penn., and 2008 presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, Thompson pointed to growing Congressional support for the plan that the three sponsored last month.
The Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007 would begin phasing troops from Iraq in May, taking all U.S. combat soldiers from the country by March 31, 2008. The measure would also block a plan from President Bush to send more troops to the war-torn nation.
Such redeployment would start a policy change focused on diplomatic efforts, Obama said.
"Our military options have been exhausted," he said, referring to "the president's failed Iraq policy."
The congressmen stopped short of endorsing the legislation that their party proposed in the House and Senate on Thursday, saying that they still needed to review the plan that also sets a March 2008 deadline to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq.
But plans with such deadlines will prompt the Iraqi government to take over security and military control in the nation, Thompson said.
Administration officials have said that Bush would veto legislation that sets timelines on troop withdrawal, as such moves could limit military needs.
"I don't think anybody's surprised that the president would threaten to veto," Obama said.
The different approach, such as a series of votes by the House and Senate or a congressional override of any veto, would pressure the administration to change, Obama said. An override would require Republican support.
"I think there's a lot of disquiet in the Republican caucus, and there's a lot of disquiet across the country," Obama said.
"We want to continue to highlight that the president's approach is wrong."
The plan from Thompson, Murphy and Obama has attracted 58 representatives so far and Obama's mirror version has drawn four supporters in the Senate.
The effort in Iraq needs economic reconstruction and humanitarian work besides the military force that the U.S. has contributed so far, said Murphy, an Army veteran who served in Iraq from 2003 to 2004.
"It's a three-legged stool," he said, noting a provision in the plan that includes sending a special envoy to Iraq.
The plan calls for Iraq to spend up to $10 billion for reconstruction job creation and economic development. It does not require U.S. funds for those and other humanitarian efforts.