Continued from page 1

However, he stressed that the United States should not have a long-term presence similar to that in Korea and Europe.

He said Democrats were working on plans to stop sectarian violence from spilling across Iraq’s borders and to keep Iran and al Qaeda in check after a U.S. pullout.

“There are all sorts of things that need to be put into this plan,” he said. “What we are doing now is giving the administration sufficient time to adopt a responsible plan.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, backed down in May when the president vetoed the pullout plan that was attached to emergency troop funding.

Mr. Hoyer said next time would be different.

“We are going to be vigorously fighting for a change of policy,” he said. “The legislation that we present to the president, if the president vetoes it, we are going to send him more legislation which … mandates a change of policy.”

Aside from challenging the war, Mr. Hoyer said most of the Democrats’ agenda — increasing the minimum wage and student aid — passed with solid Republican support in the House.

“We are not passing a liberal agenda or a conservative agenda,” he said. “We are passing an agenda that I think speaks to the desires of the American public and what they voted for in ‘06.”

Mr. Hoyer said he was sure Republicans would attempt to brand his party’s incumbents in tough districts as far-left “Pelosi Democrats,” but he said they were ready to rebut the label.

“I think we can show that we are passing legislation that has broad support from the American people,” he said.

c Christina Bellantoni contributed to this article. A transcript of the interview is available at