Re: OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, PELOSI!
House readies another Iraq funding vote
By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer
39 minutes ago
November 8, 2007
WASHINGTON - Under pressure to support the troops but end the war, House Democrats said Thursday they would send President Bush $50 billion for combat operations on the condition that he begin withdrawing troops from Iraq.
The proposal, similar to one Bush vetoed earlier this year, would identify a goal of ending combat entirely by December 2008. It would require that troops spend as much time at home as they do in combat, as well as effectively ban harsh interrogation techniques like waterboarding.
In a private caucus meeting, Pelosi told rank-and-file Democrats that the bill was their best shot at challenging Bush on the war. And if Bush rejected it, she said, she did not intend on sending him another war spending bill for the rest of the year.
"This is not a blank check for the president," she said later at a Capitol Hill news conference. "This is providing funding for the troops limited to a particular purpose, for a short time frame."
White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Bush would veto any bill that sets an "artificial timeline" for troop withdrawals.
"We should be supporting our troops as they are succeeding, not finding ways to undercut their mission," he said.
Democrats are in a tight spot. Since taking control of Congress in January, catapulted to power by voters frustrated by the war, they remain unable to pass veto-proof legislation demanding troops leave Iraq. Democrats are split on whether to continue paying for the unpopular war, with many saying Congress must provide the military with the money it needs so long as troops are in harm's way.
Without another spending bill for the war, the Defense Department would have to drain its less urgent accounts to keep the war afloat.
Several anti-war liberals said Thursday they were willing to get behind the measure, so long as Democrats don't send Bush the money anyway if the bill is vetoed.
"What I don't want to do is get on this merry-go-round where we try to end this war and negotiate it down to a blank check," said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. "It's time to play hardball."
The $50 billion included in the bill represents about a quarter of the $196 billion requested by Bush. It would finance about four months of combat, Pelosi said.
It also would call on Bush to restrict the mission of U.S. troops. After December 2008, troops left behind in Iraq should be restricted to a narrow set of missions, namely counterterrorism, training Iraqi security forces and protecting U.S. assets, Pelosi said.
Bush rejected a similar proposal in May, and Democrats lacked the votes to override the veto. They eventually relented, sending Bush a $95 billion that financed operations in Iraq and Afgahnistan through the summer.
The latest proposal was headed on a similar path, with Republicans immediately sounding their objections.
House Republican Leader John Boehner called the idea "backward and irresponsible" in light of military progress being made in Iraq.
"Our troops need all of the resources Congress can provide to seize upon the tactical momentum they've achieved and eliminate al-Qaida from Iraq's communities once and for all," said Boehner, R-Ohio.
Republicans will likely have other objections to the bill. In addition to setting a timetable for troop withdrawals, the measure was on track to limit the time soldiers and Marines spent in combat in relation to time spent at home. Earlier this year, the Pentagon lobbied against restricting combat tours because they said it would force troops in Iraq now to stay longer.
The new bill also would require all government interrogators rely on the Army's field manual. The Army's manual was updated in 2006 to specifically ban the military from using aggressive interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding.
While the measure was expected to pass the House, some Democrats said they would still reject it because the December 2008 date was nonbinding.
"It doesn't matter if we're voting to send the president $50 billion or $50,000, this Congress should only pass funding bills for Iraq that are used to fully fund the safe and orderly withdrawal of our brave men and women from Iraq, and bring them home to their families," said Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., a co-chair of the Progressive Caucus.
On Thursday, the House approved $460 billion in annual military spending and $11.6 billion for bomb-resistant vehicles for the war, as well as a stopgap funding measure to keep the rest of the government running through mid-December.
The spending package omits money for combat operations.
Without that money, the Defense Department would have to transfer money from less urgent spending accounts to keep the wars afloat.
Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee, said he believes the Army would run out of money entirely by January if Congress does not approve some war money.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he did not want to approve a spending measure for Iraq unless it forced a change in Bush's policies. When asked whether that was possible, considering the razor-thin majority Democrats hold in the Senate, Reid said it "is up to the White House and up to the Republicans."
PLEASE PROVIDE A LIST OF ALL FUNDS PROVIDED TO THE PRESIDENT THROUGH CONGRESS SINCE THE START OF THE WAR. THANK YOU.
FOR CRYING OUT LOUD PELOSI. THE LAST TIME YOU SENT A WAR FUNDING BILL TO THE PRESIDENT WITH A TIME LINE FOR TROOP WITHDRAWAL, HE VETOED IT AND RECEIVED THE MONEY WITHOUT A TIME LINE FOR WITHDRAWAL.
YOU'RE DOING THE SAME THING AGAIN. DO YOU SERIOUSLY THINK HE'S NOT GOING TO VETO IT AGAIN? STOP PRETENDING YOU HAVE THE POWER TO BRING THE TROOPS HOME.
THAT SAID, YOU SHOULD HAVE PLENTY OF FREE TIME TO IMPEACH CHENEY.