The plan was disclosed last month, setting off a political storm in the United States even though the company's U.S. operations were only a small part of the global transaction. DP World valued its rival's American operations at less than 10 percent of the nearly $7 billion total purchase.
Republicans denounced the plan, furious that they learned of it from news reports instead of the administration. They cited concerns over a company run by a foreign government overseeing operations at U.S. ports already vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
Democrats also pledged to halt the takeover and clamored for a vote in the Senate. They sought political advantage from the issue by trying to narrow a polling gap with the GOP on issues of national security.
After the company's announcement, the Senate indefinitely postponed a vote on a Democratic move to block the deal.
Bush defended the deal, calling the United Arab Emirates a strong ally in the war on terror and pledging to cast the first veto of his presidency if Congress voted to interfere.
Senate Republicans initially tried to fend off a vote, and the administration agreed to a 45-day review of the transaction. That strategy collapsed on Wednesday with the 62-2 vote in the House Appropriations Committee to thwart the sale.