A bipartisan group of House lawmakers introduced a measure that would require President George W. Bush to start withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq no later than October 2006.

Republican Representatives Walter Jones of North Carolina and Ron Paul of Texas joined Democratic Representatives Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii in sponsoring the resolution, said Doug Gordon, a Kucinich spokesman.

Jones voted for authorizing the war on Oct. 10, 2002; Paul, Kucinich and Abercrombie opposed it.

“Today is the beginning of the end of the war in Iraq,'’ Kucinich said at a news conference in Washington today. “It is time to thank our troops and say, `come home.”’

The bill is the first bipartisan measure on troop withdrawals since Congress gave Bush approval to invade the country to oust former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Gordon said.

The measure would require Bush to begin removing American troops from Iraq on or before Oct. 1, 2006, Gordon said. ~Bloomberg

This is an important next step in the push for withdrawal. Only a few weeks ago there was the much weaker resolution calling for the president to create a plan for withdrawal. This measure is much stronger, and how it fares in the House will be a test of how strong popular opposition to the war has become. It is a hopeful sign that Americans may be leaving Iraq within a year and a half. This measure should also be a test for all Congressmen, and those who fail to support specific withdrawal measures should be challenged in next spring’s primaries and targeted for defeat in the autumn.