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House Ready to Take Up Iraq Debate

The House prepares to begin debate on a resolution opposing the Bush administration's Iraq policy. Every lawmaker gets five minutes to weigh in on the two-line proposal. Here's how it works, according to Andrea Seabrook:

Each of the 435 members of the House of Representatives will get a chance to respond to the resolution opposing a surge of soldiers in Iraq.

That resolution says:

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Resolved by the House of Representatives, that - (1) Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and (2) Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.

The resolution is non-binding, but the debate is expected to be fierce.

In most House debates, members have a minute or two to speak, and each side picks representatives to do the speaking. In those cases, debate usually only lasts a few hours, or perhaps, most of one day.

Republicans in the House are disappointed they didn't get the chance to have a vote on a resolution they could write, which would say that supporting the mission is supporting the troops, and to be against the mission is to be against the troops.

Seabrook says listeners can expect to hear many Democrats say, in essence, "We're only repeating what the American voters said in the November election."

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She says many Republicans will counter with, "Democrats are hurting the morale of the troops," and that the resolution up for debate is a first step toward cutting off funding for the war.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), predicted 20 Republicans will vote for the resolution, but others have guessed 35 to 40 Republicans will oppose the surge in Iraq.

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