Archive for Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Democratic leader in Senate proposes cutting off war funds

April 3, 2007


— Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday he wants to cut off money for the Iraq war next year, making clear for the first time that Democrats are willing to pull out all the stops to end U.S. involvement.

Reid's new strategy faces an uphill battle because many of his colleagues see yanking funds as a dangerous last resort. The proposal increases the stakes on the debate and marks a new era for the Democratic leadership once reluctant to talk about Congress' power of the purse.

"In the face of the administration's stubborn unwillingness to change course, the Senate has no choice but to force a change of course," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who signed on Monday as a co-sponsor of Reid's proposal with Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis.

The move is likely to intensify the Democrats' rift with the administration, which already contends Democrats are putting troops at risk by setting deadlines.

"It's time the self-appointed strategists on Capitol Hill understood a very simple concept: You cannot win a war if you tell the enemy you're going to quit," Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday at a fundraising luncheon for Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

Also Monday, President Bush conferred by secure videoconference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on the pace of a nearly seven-week-old security crackdown. Extra troops from both countries are aiming to calm Baghdad and troubled Anbar Province, and some initial improvement has been reported.

Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for Bush's National Security Council, said the leaders agreed that the effort "must be carried out until lasting success can be achieved." Al-Maliki repeated his promise to pass legislation seen as key to moving Sunnis and Shiites from battling each other to political compromise.

In recent weeks, the House and Senate voted separately to finance the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but set an end date for combat in Iraq. The House proposal orders all combat troops out of Iraq as of Aug. 31, 2008, whereas the Senate orders some troops to leave right away with the nonbinding goal of ending combat by March 31, 2008.

The House and Senate are working on a final proposal that can be sent to the president by the end of the month.

Bush has said several times he would veto the measure, and Republicans say they'll back him. On Monday, 154 House Republicans sent Bush a letter promising to stick with him in opposition to the legislation.

Mindful that they hold a shaky majority in Congress and that neither chamber has enough votes to override a presidential veto, Democrats are already thinking about the next step after Bush rejects their legislation.

Reid said Monday that if that happens, he will join forces with Feingold, one of the party's most liberal members who has long called to end the war by denying funding for it.

Reid has previously stopped short of embracing Feingold's position. When asked whether he would ever consider pulling funds for the troops, Reid said Congress would provide troops what they needed to be safe.

Reid's latest proposal would give the president one year to get troops out, ending funding for combat operations after March 31, 2008.

"If the president vetoes the supplemental appropriations bill and continues to resist changing course in Iraq, I will work to ensure this legislation receives a vote in the Senate in the next work period," Reid said in a statement.


Porter 10 years, 11 months ago

It's so funny how pulling our troops out of this chosen war is considered cowardly, unpatriotic, or unsupportive.

Why is it so brave, patriotic, or supportive to send these men and women over there to die for no apparent reason?

mick 10 years, 11 months ago

If you rearrange the letters in madmike it says K maimed. It's more like 20K maimed.

mick 10 years, 11 months ago

That stands for "killing is morally corrupt."

mick 10 years, 11 months ago

Agnostick, when I read that State of the Union Address what I saw was justification for the perpetuation of our permanent war economy. This is what the American Enterprise Institute, who runs this White House, is all about.

mick 10 years, 11 months ago

When I look at the Democrats in Congress I am very disappointed. The first thing they did was to take off the table the idea of de-funding this war. They fear it would be politically damaging. Both parties care more about the 2008 elections than they do about our troops or even our country.

mick 10 years, 11 months ago

If we left Iraq today there would be continuing violence. It would be in the national interests of Iran, Syria and Turkey to take care of the situation. How is it in our national interest to be involved?

MyName 10 years, 11 months ago

They haven't hated each other for 1000 years! That's the problem! This fighting is more about politics than it is about religion. The leaders on all sides are going for a power grab and they are using religion as a justification.

The bottom line is that, even if we had our military over there in enough strength to enforce the peace, there is no guarantee that it will be seen as legitimate by all sides. For most of them, it would just be the occupiers enforcing their will on everybody else. Which means that as soon as we leave, whenever we end up leaving, there will be another power grab, and another civil war until they've had it out and are ready to talk peace. So why should our troops stay over in harms way??

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 10 years, 11 months ago

Cutting off funding won't bring the troops home, it will only prevent them from getting the supplies, armor and bulletproof vests they need. Anyone who thinks that this measure will force Dubya to bring the troops home is kidding themselves. It will end in more dead troops and the Republicans will use it as an opportunity to say, "The troops might still be alive if the Dems hadn't cut off their funding." I'm surprised Harry Reid didn't have the foresight to think of that. The troops need to come home soon, but I'm not sure if anyone (other than El Chimp) can speed up the process.

mick 10 years, 11 months ago

If I were a Democrat in Congress I'd say, "Okay Mr. President. Here's your $100 billion for Iraq, no strings attached. However, we're cutting the $600 billion Pentagon budget in half. You have come to expect that $600 billion every year no matter what." No more billion dollar experimental fighter jets for a while. But the Democrats seem to be complicit in this regard.

mick 10 years, 11 months ago

The Democrats could put an end to this thing if they really wanted to. Both parties are trying to make political hay out of it. Our troops- and we- are caught in the crossfire. They don't care what we think. As far as they're concerned, they'll tell us what we think.

mick 10 years, 11 months ago

I agree with you 75X55. I don't think the ultra-right wing war-loving Republicans have been told how to respond to that.

mick 10 years, 11 months ago

They're probably watching Fox News right now to find out.

mick 10 years, 11 months ago

It is contrary to our national interest to continue the occupation of Iraq. From the humanitarian point of view, our occupation is preventing those countries which do have a national interest in regional peace- Syria, Iran and Turkey- from stepping in. They would be more effectual in securing peace.

mick 10 years, 11 months ago

You've been hanging fire all this time for that?

preebo 10 years, 11 months ago

I for one think they should cut-off funding for this war. I know that this is political risk, but look what Congress did to get us out of Vietnam. It was a bipartisan movement then and I believe that this is the beginning of one now.

I find it extremely interesting that Bush blames Congress for the stall on funds and not his unwillingness to work with the other COEQUAL branch of government. This man needs to be stopped before the death toll of American Soldiers reaches 4 thousand or dare I say 5.

Bush could not be more like Nixon if he tried. All this fuss about Executive Privilege, "mico-managing" the war effort. Is it a coincidence that his Veep, and his former DOD head were both Nixon staffers? Probably not.

I say if the Dems have the gall to cut-off the Billions upon Billions for this clusterf%*$, they can count on my vote in 08, for sure.

mick 10 years, 11 months ago

Nixon won election in "72 based on a promise to end the war. He fulfilled that promise shortly after inauguration in "73. The Dems could have put an end to the question of Iraq by now if they wanted but they want to make political hay out of it for 2008. If they think that last November's election was all about Iraq, they are wrong. It was about our politicians paying absolutley no mind to the voters and what we see now is politics as usual. We will have to keep voting them out until they get the message.

mick 10 years, 11 months ago

If I was a Republican I'd be hoping Hilary gets the nomination. If I was a Democrat I'd be hoping she didn't. Me, I just hope we get someone who is not all about politics as usual.

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