WASHINGTON - Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Arlen Specter voted with his party yesterday and against an Iraq spending measure that sets a timetable for withdrawing U.S. forces.

"Congress may ultimately have to use its power of the purse to establish an orderly withdrawal from Iraq," Specter said after the vote, "but this bill inappropriately micromanages the war and tells the enemy the date when they can win just by waiting us out."

Specter's vote is consistent with earlier statements he made that it is "impractical and of questionable legal authority" to set withdrawal dates if the consequences would be to guide the enemy's planning.

The senator also said, however, that Congress had the constitutional budgeting authority to maintain armies. "At some time in the future it may be necessary, and there may be a considered joint judgment by the Congress," to use this authority to effectuate a withdrawal, Specter said four weeks ago.

Specter did not specify what circumstances would cause him to change his vote.

Contact staff writer Steve Goldstein at 202-408-2758 or slgoldstein@phillynews.com.