A bill is being prepared by House Democratic leadership to send to the floor.
• Congressional Democrats working on new $95.5 billion war funding bill
• Half of funds would be available immediately; vote required on remaining funds
• Bill does not contain deadlines for withdrawing troops from Iraq
This bill has the potential to be met with rather wide bipartisan support. While the bill doesn’t require a deadline or timetables, it would require the President to report to Congress in July upon the Iraqis progress with meeting certain benchmarks. The Democrats measures may be gaining some momentum as House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) address lagging support among House Republicans. However, this was stated that it would be timed with General Petraeus’ report regarding progress of “The Surge”. A bit more than half of the troops needed for planned operation are in place. It is believed by many that July will see intense fighting as the heavy brigades will be deployed in various key sectors believed to be Al-Qaeda areas of influence. Pressure is being put on anti-war legislators to oppose this bill, and not accept any bill which doesn’t immediately call for an immediate pull out.
In a conversation with a friend of mine who has some of the inside story, the plan in July is to make these contested areas “One big Fallujah”.
Time is clearly not on General Petraeus’ and President Bush’s side. Signficant promise will need to be seen by late Summer in cleaning up Iraq, or it is not likely that the Congress Republicans will stand in line in support of the Iraq policy.