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Iraq/Iran: Iraq is back

The Iraq debate returns to the Senate floor, but it won't stay long, NBC Ken Strickland reports. Later today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to announce he'll bring back the $50-billion war-funding bill, which includes a December 2008 timeline for most troop withdrawal. Reid has scheduled a news conference for 1:00 pm ET today on Capitol Hill.  "We will return our legislative focus to ending the war in Iraq that has cost our troops and our country so dearly," he'll say according to prepared remarks.

This is the same House-passed bill that failed to meet the Senate's 60-vote threshold for passage (53-45) about two weeks ago -- the last day the chamber voted before Thanksgiving recess. The outcome should be no different this time around, but Reid may get even less support if he's unable to lure three of his presidential candidates (Biden, Clinton, and Obama) off the trail. (Dodd voted against it saying the measure didn't go far enough.) Debate will likely start on Tuesday, with a vote on Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, President Bush will appear in the Rose Garden at 10:00 am ET today to make remarks criticizing Congress on spending and war funding, NBC's John Yang reports. White House Press Secretary Dana Perino says he will not take questions.

Ex-White House Chief of Staff Andy Card is disputing Karl Rove's contention earlier this week that the White House was NOT pushing for the Iraq War resolution vote to take place before the 2002 elections. Card said on MSNBC, "Sometimes his mouth gets ahead of his brain." Card later said that he had not actually seen Rove's interview and was simply reacting to the host's mischaracterization."