The Democratic-controlled Congress threw down the gauntlet to President Bush on Monday, agreeing on a funding bill for the war in Iraq with provisions the president has repeatedly sworn to veto.
The red pen is out already, and it should be vetoed as was stated months ago when this notion came up by the LA Times, not a bastion of Conservativism or Bush support. Signing this would cripple the CINC role of the President.
House and Senate negotiators settled on a version of the $124 supplemental spending bill that requires combat troops to begin leaving Iraq by Oct. 1 with a goal of a complete withdrawal six months later. The move paves the way for final House and Senate votes on the bill later this week.
Meeting late Monday afternoon, lawmakers agreed to set a goal for withdrawal, rather than a hard deadline, and to retain provisions favored by the House that would set requirements for troop readiness and benchmarks for political progress by the Iraqi government.
In fairness, this bill is “non-binding” unlike the House version, which means it could be ignored. Some case can be made for signing it just to make peace or a show of willingness to give, but that would be also used by the Senate and House to act as if the bill had been binding. So, the case is pretty lame.
Republicans criticized the deal, with one of their most senior senators saying there was no point in sending a bill to the White House when it had no chance of becoming law.
“We should get this to the president to get it signed, not get it to the president knowing full well it must be vetoed,” said Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska.
The Senator is wrong in the sense that this is upping the ante in the game of chicken being played by the Congress and the Administration. I suspect it will be no holds barred very soon. The “I” word is more than being whispered in the House.
Bush had reiterated his long-standing objections to a timetable for withdrawal just hours before the conference began.
“Politicians in Washington shouldn’t be telling generals how to do their job,” he said from the White House with the commander of U.S. forces, Gen. David Petraeus, by his side.
To send this to the floor before hearing Petraeus was a mistake. The Dems showed their cards, although there isn’t much of a middle left, maybe doing so after they heard the commader speak would have been better. I would love for Petraeus to basically tell them to “shove it”.
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) hit back shortly afterward with a speech that showed he was standing his ground.
He accused the president of acting alone to implement a troop surge that “ignored the advice of the Iraq Study Group, ignored the will of the people and dismissed the advice of many of his own generals.”
He rejected the Republican description of a deadline for redeployment as a “surrender date.”
“I am proud of the role the Senate and the House are playing in this historic debate. It is a constructive — and long overdue — effort to put some spine in our policy,” Reid said.
And he blasted Bush’s speech last week saying that the situation in Iraq was improving: “The White House transcript says the president made those remarks in the state of Michigan. I believe he made them in the state of denial.”
I thought the good Senator said the “War was lost”. Why not defund immediately if that is the case. Sen. Reid needs to understand that if the war is lost, it is indeed fitting to surrender. Why not put a different euphemism on it and posit an arguement that can be debateable – like – “We’ve removed Sadaam, the Iraqis have an army, and it’s time for them to handle their country”. I could have maybe swallowed if the troops that stayed went into a “Four Corners” to try and make sure things don’t go fully out of control, but with Mr. Reid’s waving the white flag last week, having troops stay a day longer is patently unethical. To quote Sen. Kerry, how can you ask someone’s son to be the last one to die in a lost cause.”. I love it when this toadie opens his mouth. Volumes of ignorance spew forth.
Congress could send a final bill to the president by Friday.
And the veto will be sent in time for talk on the Sunday morning shows.