President Bush says he is now willing to talk about setting up benchmarks to gauge progress in Iraq, perhaps responding to pressure from both sides of the political aisle. However, he also made it clear Thursday that he’s going to reject another bill expected to pass soon in the House that would stop funding for the Iraq war this July.
AP via CNN:
At the same time, Bush pressured Iraqi leaders to move swiftly on a number of measures that could be used as benchmarks, including legislation to share Iraq’s oil wealth, hold provincial elections and update the constitution.
“They have got to speed up their clock,” the president said. U.S. officials have urged Iraq’s parliament to abandon plans to take a two-month vacation this summer.
Bush’s willingness to put benchmarks in a war-funding bill represented a shift in position by the president.
“One message I have heard from people of both parties is that benchmarks make sense and I agree,” Bush said. He said his chief of staff, Joshua Bolten, would talk with congressional leaders “to find common ground” on benchmarks.