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After months of blocking similar debates, Senate Republicans in the US agreed with Democrats to advance an antiwar bill which could cut off funds.

Now security conditions in Iraq have improved, Republicans believe they may have the upper hand in the debate and will be able to work with the imporoved statistics provided by US military sources.

The measure, by Democratic Senators, would cut off money for combat after 120 days.

Democrats believe a “civil war” is raging in Iraq and US taxpayers shouldn’t be expected to
spend a half billion dollars every day on it.

While the proposition had been expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed, Republican members in a private conference agreed that the debate could help make a case for their pro-war stance.

The Senate has now voted 70-24 to begin debating the bill.

The White House said the president would veto such a measure as the legislation would substitute the political judgment of legislators for the professional military judgment of military commanders.

In recent months, violence in Iraq has subsided significantly and the Baghdad government has made some steps toward political reconciliation.

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