Bipartisan Senate Group Embraces Iraq Study Group's Findings

A bipartisan Senate group has embraced the Iraq Study Group's recommendations.

ByABC News
June 5, 2007, 3:37 PM

June 5, 2007— -- Almost six months after former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton of Indiana presented a comprehensive strategy for Iraq known as the Iraq Study Group recommendations -- which President Bush did not quite enthusiastically embrace -- a bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced legislation Tuesday to use the group's recommendations as the foundation for future U.S. policy in Iraq.

Perhaps most notably the bill -- which is supported by several conservative Republicans -- aims to begin the withdrawal of U.S. combat brigades by early 2008 if certain benchmarks are met.

"We really need a political situation in Washington, D.C., as we do in Baghdad," one of the authors of the bill, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., told ABC News. "I'm trying to give [the president] an option. I hope he regards this as a friendly gesture, something he can embrace after a few weeks."

Asked how much longer Republican senators would show patience with the president's surge strategy, Alexander said, "Not too much longer."

Alexander and Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., are leading the bipartisan group, which includes Democratic Sens. Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Republican Sens. Bob Bennett of Utah, Judd Gregg and John Sununu of New Hampshire.

The bill, which the senators said has been approved by Baker and Hamilton, would also create an Iraq International Support Group for diplomacy; make training, equipping and advising the Iraqi military and security forces the first U.S. priority; create a new senior adviser position for economic reconstruction in Iraq; and mandate that the president include the cost of the war in his annual budget request instead of making it a supplemental item.

Referring to reports of some U.S. diplomatic contact with Iran and Syria, Alexander said that the president is "almost backing into the Iraq Study Group recommendations."

"Well, if that's the case," the Tennessee Republican continued, "why not embrace it and use it as a basis for a longer-term but limited presence in Iraq?"