Debate on Cheney impeachment averted
By JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 17 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - House Democrats on Tuesday narrowly managed to avert a bruising debate on a proposal to impeach Dick Cheney after Republicans, in a surprise maneuver, voted in favor of taking up the measure.
Republicans, changing course midway through a vote, tried to force Democrats into a debate on the resolution sponsored by longshot presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich.
The anti-war Ohio Democrat, in his resolution, accused Cheney of purposely leading the country into war against Iraq and manipulating intelligence about Iraq's ties with al-Qaida.
The GOP tactics reversed what had been expected to be an overwhelming vote to table, or kill, the resolution.
Midway through the vote, with instructions from the GOP leadership, Republicans one by one changed their votes from yes — to kill the resolution — to no, trying to force the chamber into a debate and an up-or-down vote on the proposal.
At one point there were 290 votes to table. After the turnaround, the final vote was 251-162 against tabling, with 165 Republicans voting against it.
"We're going to help them out, to explain themselves," said Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas. "We're going to give them their day in court."
Democrats countered by offering a motion to refer the proposal to the House Judiciary Committee for further study, effectively preventing a debate on the House floor. That motion passed by a largely party-line vote of 218-194.
The White House, in a statement, said Democrats were shirking responsibilities on issues such as childrens' health insurance "and yet they find time to waste an afternoon on an impeachment vote against the vice president. ... This is why Americans shake their head in wonder about the priorities of this Congress."
The most important responsibility of Congress is to remove the conspirators within the White House. Children's' Health Insurance?? Excuse me, but isn't this the bill that the President just vetoed? Americans shake their heads wondering why CONGRESS has not imposed articles of impeachment against the liars and murderers in the White House. Americans shake their heads wondering why the Democratic elected Congress has achieved zero since it was installed. Could it be because Congress is a machine that works for the powers that be and not the American people?
Kucinich has long pushed for a vote to impeach Cheney, but has failed to win the backing of the Democratic leadership. After Kucinich introduced the resolution, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., immediately moved to table it.
Why can't Kucinich win the backing of the Democratic leadership? Could it be because they work for the powers that be and not the American people?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said "impeachment is off the table" and Congress is focused on responsibly getting U.S. troops out of Iraq, covering 10 million uninsured children and meeting national priorities long neglected by the Bush administration, said her spokesman Nadeam Elshami.
Why is Congress focused on getting the troops out of Iraq? Every attempt thus far has failed and Congress has no power over this issue. Try removing the people who placed our troops in Iraq and who want to place the remaining troops in Iran. I think you need to get your priorities in order, Pelosi. Let us know when you get the 10 million uninsured children insured and how many more troops have been killed by that time. Let us know how many more innocent Iraqi citizens have been murdered in the name of oil by the time you and Congress achieve one item of GOOD for the American people.
The resolution said that Cheney, "in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of vice president," had "purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States by fabricating a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify the use of the U.S. Armed Forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security interests."
The 11-page resolution also charged that Cheney purposely deceived the nation about an alleged relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida and has "openly threatened aggression against the Republic of Iran absent any real threat to the United States."
House approval of an article of impeachment sends the issue to the Senate, which has the constitutional authority to try and, with a two-thirds vote, remove a person from office.
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.