The Senate has passed legislation that its supporters say would keep a U.S. office monitoring Iraq reconstruction operating until late 2008. It would reverse a provision in a defense authorization measure enacted in October that terminates the office's oversight authority Oct. 1, 2007.

The Senate language, added to a military construction spending bill approved Nov. 14, applies to the office of Stuart Bowen, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. But the measure must be reconciled with a House-passed "mil con" bill, which lacks the IG extension. As a backup in case the appropriations bill does not get final approval, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee cleared a stand-alone IG extension.