Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Congress won't stop the war --unless we force them to
Congress won't stop the war --unless we force them to

The article below is from today's New York Times. Despite the fact that the Democrats were elected with a clear and overwheling mandate to end the war, they continue to hide behind legislative maneuvers and political posturing:


Divided Congress Prepares to Debate Financing and Strategy for Iraq War

By JEFF ZELENY and ROBIN TONER
Published: February 28, 2007

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 — The Democratic-controlled Congress on Tuesday entered a critical five-week struggle over the financing of the war in Iraq and the overall mission there, divided over strategy, stymied by ideological divisions, but still hoping to escalate In the Senate, a proposal to repeal the 2002 Congressional war authorization faced skepticism on two fronts. Some liberal Democrats expressed unease at the prospect of approving a new military mission, even a narrower one, while moderate Republicans said they preferred to look ahead rather than revisit the past.

In the House, Democrats debated what conditions should be attached to the nearly $100 billion spending bill for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, scheduled for a floor vote in March. Democratic leaders convened a spirited meeting of their caucus to begin sorting out the lawmakers’ varying views, hoping to defend against Republican charges that they were planning a cutoff in troop financing.

As members of Congress returned to Capitol Hill after a weeklong break at home, Democrats searched for a way to translate a tide of public sentiment against the war into legislation that makes practical — and political — sense.
“Personally, I don’t believe there are any good alternatives in Iraq,” said Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the Democratic majority leader. Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, Mr. Hoyer and other leaders met with their fellow Democrats for about an hour in a closed session on Tuesday evening. They emerged to say that the military spending bill would place a new emphasis on the war on terrorism and provide additional financing for the American effort in Afghanistan.

They also sought to rebut the Republican charge that the troops would suffer from their efforts to change the administration’s troop buildup in Iraq. “Let me be clear,” Ms. Pelosi told reporters. “We will fund the troops.”
While Democrats have yet to settle on a final spending plan, Ms. Pelosi spoke favorably of a proposal put forward by Representative John P. Murtha, Democrat of Pennsylvania, that would establish strict standards for the training, readiness and equipment of troops about to be deployed to Iraq. Mr. Murtha has said his legislation would protect American forces, yet make Mr. Bush’s troop buildup impossible to sustain.

The new Democratic proposal would allow those standards to be waived, although they would require the president to do it. “He will have to have his name on that,” said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, the Democratic conference chairman.

The Murtha proposal had come under heavy fire from Republicans, who asserted that it would amount to a crippling financial drain if the Pentagon would fail to meet the standards. Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the Republican leader, scoffed at the new Democratic approach Tuesday night, saying, “Sounds like retreat to me.”

Democratic leaders said their plan would set new benchmarks for the Iraqi government and force the president to be accountable for the condition of the troops. Still, some Democrats pledged not to be silenced in their efforts to reduce military spending.

In the Senate, Democratic leaders temporarily set aside Iraq deliberations to consider a debate on implementing recommendations from the 9/11 Commission. Families of the victims persuaded Senate leaders not to bog down the debate with Iraq amendments.

Michael Luo contributed reporting.

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posted by Stop War @ 7:06 AM  
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