WASHINGTON — The latest draft of the new strategy for Iraq that President will Bush will lay out Wednesday calls for an increase of more than 20,000 troops, with most going to Baghdad and 4,000 to Anbar province, one senior official said Tuesday.
The first wave of additional U.S. troops will go into Iraq before the end of the month under Bush’s revised plan, said the official, who requested anonymity because the plans have not yet been announced.
The plan also calls for responsibility for security for all the country's provinces to be turned over to Iraqi forces by November, said another official, also speaking on condition of anonymity. Bush is due to unveil his plan in a speech Wednesday evening.
Moving first would be the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, which is in Kuwait and poised to deploy quickly into Iraq.
With the new Democratic-led Congress flexing its muscles in opposition to the unpopular Iraq war, a leading Democratic senator proposed to block Bush from sending more troops to Iraq unless Congress specifically approves.
Sen. Edward Kennedy said Tuesday that Congress had the authority to block the move through its power to approve spending.
"We cannot simply speak out against an escalation of troops in Iraq, we must act to prevent it," the Massachusetts Democrat said in a speech to the National Press Club.
The move seemed destined to touch off constitutional debate about the role of Congress and whether it can stop specific orders by the president — who is the commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces — once it has authorized the use of force.
"There can be no doubt that the Constitution gives Congress the authority to decide whether to fund military action, and Congress can demand a justification from the president for such action before it appropriates the funds to carry it out," Kennedy said.
Congress in October 2002 passed a resolution authorizing the Iraq war. Since then the war has taken the lives of more than 3,000 members of the U.S. military, and Democrats rode the growing public unhappiness with the conflict to majorities in both houses of Congress in November.
Bush on Tuesday continued meeting lawmakers at the White House as he sought to convince them of the necessity of his plan to try to improve the deteriorating situation in Iraq.
Bush indicated to fellow Republicans on Monday that he intended to send about 20,000 more U.S. troops as part of a deal with the Iraqi government. Iraq has pledged to strengthen security in exchange for more American soldiers, said Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon, who attended the sessions.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.