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House rejects funding caveat on Iran

The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly rejected a measure that would have prevented President Bush from using Iraq war funds to strike Iran.The amendment to the defense spending bill, proposed Wednesday night by Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.), would have required congressional approval for such an expenditure. It failed 216-202. A more far-reaching amendment proposed by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) was rejected by 288-136.The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which favors a robust posture against any possible Iranian nuclear threat, strongly opposed the amendments. Two Jewish members close to AIPAC, Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), had kept similar language from appearing in the bill’s original text. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the House speaker, allowed the amendments to go forward to placate anti-war Democrats.Andrews’ amendment drew the support of 196 Democrats and six Republicans, and the opposition of 187 Republicans and 29 Democrats. President Bush says he has no intention of striking Iran but won’t rule out the option.