Will GOP dissent show up in Senate vote on Iraq?

Sen. Harry Reid
Sen. Harry Red (AFP)

The top Democrat in the US Senate Friday staked out the next tussle between Congress and the White House over Iraq, arguing that political sands were shifting against President George W. Bush.

Senator Harry Reid probed anew at signs of cracks in Republican support for Bush's strategy, hours after the House of Representatives defied Bush's veto threat and voted to fund the war in installments of only a few months.

"In just the last few days, we have seen our Republican colleagues tell the president that his war strategy is failing," Reid said on the Senate floor.

"This is a welcome shift. It is encouraging."

The White House has denied Republican backing is fraying over the president's plan to surge nearly 30,000 more troops into Iraq, despite comments by several key Republicans in recent days that strategy changes might be needed if there is no demonstrable progress in Iraq by September.

In the latest twist of a fierce political joust for control of the war, the House of Representatives voted 221 to 205 late Thursday to release 43 billion dollars (32 billion euros) in emergency war funds.

The measure would handcuff Bush by requiring him to show progress in Iraq in July before he can collect another 53 billion dollars in financing.

The legislation now moves to the more closely divided Senate, where the split financing component appears unlikely to survive, lining up an intense round of legislative bartering over the bill Bush will be asked to sign.

"The House of Representatives is a different body than we are, the majority party there can do what they want to do — we can't do that," Reid said.

"The Senate is divided as we speak 50-49, so we have to work together on this."

Senior White House and Senate aides have been holding discrete talks in search of a compromise on a war funding bill to replace the 124 billion dollar version vetoed by Bush last week over Democratic troop withdrawal timetables.

Both Republicans and Democrats hope a reconciled version of the bill can be agreed and sent to Bush to sign by the end of May.

An aide to Reid declined to say on Friday whether talks were taking place Friday or would happen at the weekend, or when the issue would come up on the Senate floor.

Reid said Thursday that White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten had presented him with a proposal, but refused to divulge its contents.

Also on Thursday, Bush reached out to Democrats and anxious Republicans by saying that inserting security, military and political benchmarks in the legislation that Iraq will be required to meet, made sense.

In another new move Friday, respected Virginia Republican Senator John Warner, who is preparing his own legislation on benchmarks, said he would like to see Bush report on conditions in Iraq before Congress's August recess.

Warner said he would like Bush to say whether "some change in strategy must be brought about" in order to ensure success of the original surge plan.

The debate is likely to sharpen on what penalty the fragile Iraqi government would pay for missing such targets.

Some senators want General David Petraeus, commander of US troops in Iraq, to be required to set a timetable for withdrawing US combat troops should Iraqis fall short.

That is likely to be opposed by the White House, but another option would see Iraq forfeit certain kinds of financial aid in the event of a failure to comply with the targets.

Vice President Dick Cheney, who just visited Iraq, told Fox News the benchmarks wrangle was simply "Washington talk" and noted Iraqis surely felt more pressured to act by raging violence than threats from Congress.

But House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi argued: "benchmarks without consequences and enforcement are meaningless."

Bush wielded his veto for only the second time last week to strike down the previous bill tying war funding to the timeline to start bringing home 146,000 troops in Iraq in October, from a war which has killed 3,386 of their comrades.

Pressure on the president was underscored by news of a White House visit by 11 concerned Republican House members on Tuesday, which followed warnings by top Republicans that a "Plan B" might be needed if there is no clear success by September for the current US surge in Iraq.

September is emerging as a possible make-or-break point for US Iraq strategy, as General David Petraeus, US commander in the country, is expected to outline results of the surge.


  1. KayInMaine

    …they couldn’t fight their way out of a wet paper bag if we started a hole for them! Just like the republicans in the House, the Senate republicans will talk a good talk to the American people about their disappointment in George Bush and his illegal occupation, but when the microphones are packed away…they’ll go inside and vote to protect him and to keep his illegal occupation alive.

    As always, it’s the republicans who are obstructing. I’m sick of them.


  2. April-May

    GOP is obstructionist.

    Dumbass is incompetent.

    Demos can’t find their butts with both hands.

    Congress needs to cut off funding. They have the option, but they lack the cojones . . . or they can’t find their butts. — One of those figures of speech.

    NRA Distinguished Life Member

  3. Sandy Price

    The American people want the war over and our troops to come home. The only way to do this is to not fund the damn war another day longer than necessary. It is the election that is running the show, not the voice of the Americans.

    You are correct about the Republicans and they realize that 35% of the people want that war to continue as long as Bush is President. He is the relgious leader in America and the voters are afraid of him. I don’t see a whole lot of courage in the Democrates and we all may lose by default. The one thing that could destroy the Republican vote is the abortion issue.

    I hope it becomes a big issue and the Democrats will walk away with the 2008 election. Then they had better have a plan to bring our troops home immediately. Hillary wants 70,000 to remain and I want everyone out. That will also be a factor by November 2008.

  4. Wayne K Dolik

    We are at war in America. We are at war for the soul of our democratic republic. So, I say which democratic leaders and which republican leaders will break the mold that has taken the United States down the wrong path?

    Let me be a voice for the progressive democrats for a moment. At this moment there are far to few progressive democrats in the House and Senate. These odds need to improve. The solution is simple. Support more Progressives in swing districts in 2008.

    As far as the republicans are concerned they need a resounding defeat of the PNAC neo-cons. Let’s bring traditional conservatives back into office. Dr. Ron Paul would be a good start and would be a great replacement for a Hillary Clinton that would continue to have a permanent base in Iraq.

    So, here we have a democratic House and Senate and a traditional conservative in the Whitehouse in 2008. You can bank on swift opposition by the corporate controlled media, which is oh so friendly to its advertisers, and it’s government interests i.e. The Military Industrial Complex.

  5. Sandy Price

    Can you describe exactly what is a progressive democrat? Do you want federal health care coverage? Do you want the North American Union that would dissolve our borders?

    Yes, I have been a supporter of Ron Paul for many years but he is a member of the religious right and cannot win the Presidency without giving Robertson and Falwell their prohibitions. I do not want a Police State in D.C. I want a President who will bring back the separation of church and state and will ensure that it is enforced.

    I agree with you on the Military Industrial complex that has done so much damage to America but with Amnesty possibly being approved in the next couple of weeks our borders will be open to terrorists and other enemies of America. This is not the time to discuss the downsizing of MIC.

    It will take 20 years to correct what the Bush Administration has done to America and a new ethical Congress. That’s a hell of a lot to ask of our apathetic voters.

  6. gene

    More US soldiers killed today and several missing while Bush and Cheney eat steak everday and live in airconditioned splender. These to BASTARDS need to be boiled in oil alive. Their as bad as Hilter in every way and just as arrogant and crazy/psychotic.

    Human life means NOTHING to them all they seek is more power and of course money. Bush’s so called God goes by another name other than Jesus. His God is Satan, the devil himself. How do individuals stand to be around him? I believe the answer to that is they are LIKE him, Condi girl especially. I believe she even one time referred to Bushidiot as her husband.

    The evil in this white house gain is staggering. Many americans are disgusted with all of the them and want them out. If their ratings were to drop to minus 1,000 these “heartless” bastards would not change their deception nor their ways. They are simply evil and remain so until their demise.

  7. Wayne K Dolik

    I don’t know if I can possibly answer your questions today, but I will give it a try. Firstly, you won’t find a bit of difference between many Republicans and Democrats installed by the moneyed interests in our Congress. This represents the go along to get along crowd of scallywags and scoundrels that are not interested in your or my interest. They are wholly in it for the money.

    Progressives want: 1. An end to the Iraq war. Cut off the war funding. Investigate the false claims that caused us to go to war, inc. 911. We want the war profiteers out of Iraq as well. We want the Private Armies out of Iraq. And, we want no permanent bases in Iraq.

    2. Progressives know that Health Care is way to expensive. Competition needs to be the rule and not the exception in our health care system. ½ Half of the BK’s are for medical expenses. There is enough money in the system to fix health care.

    3. Progressives believe in Economic Justice. This means Progressives are against the NAU and many unfair treaties, which are harmful to American Workers.

    4. Progressives are for honest elections.

    5. Progressives are for a healthy World and Environment.

    We are the new Left.

  8. SEAL

    Controlled media coveraqe coloring the remarks of those republicans who met with Bush. The party fears the White House gang and would never consider threatening them with anything. I think they all know what the game plan is and they are going to support it to the end. I guess they are banking on the inevitable esculation being engineered that will bring Iran, the Saudis, Jordan, and who knows how many others into military conflict with us right in the middle.

    The paradox is that we and Iran are supporting the same shiites presently in power in Iraq. The Saudis and Jordan are supporting the Iraqi sunnis. They are not going to allow Iran to control Iraq through the shiites. All sides are buying millions of dollars worth of arms in preparation for the war. Cheney is over there stirring the pot as vigorously as he can. The war has to start before the next elections. That will bail all of them out and keep the MIC firmly entrenched.

    In other words. There will be no withdrawal of US troops.

  9. Carl Nemo

    The loss of lives is the main event, but what’s even worse than the loss of individual lives is the loss of the life of a nation. I’m not talking about just any old backwater nation, but the United States of America!

    The M.I. Complex budget has ballooned to an annual budget amount of 460,000 million (billion) per annum. In addition we are feeding them off-budget; i.e., major “debt-money” another 100,000 million annually to piss down an Iraqi “rathole” so our hotshot generals can play war until the 12th of never. Btw generals make 12 g’s per month and they all think they are underpaid…:)) I’d think so too, if they could show us they had learned anything at the National War College other than to die the death of a thousand cuts on the field of battle. Four years have gone by and we’ve wasted almost 500,000 million dollars above the annual defense budget allocations. So folks in four years our military has eaten the American people out of house and nation to the tune of at least one trillion dollars which is 1,000,000 million dollars…! Bushco’s increased the national debt by 2.2 trillion bucks during their tenure in the Whitehouse. And we all thought republicans were fiscal conservatives… :))

    The average debt load of an American citizen is about $7000-9000 per capita and rising all the time just like our national debt. This represents credit card debt over and above their mortgage payments etc. So Americans are very familiar with debt. Bush tightened the bankruptcy laws for the average citizen while the U.S. Government’s U.S. Treasury-Federal Reserve debt-money scam has turned into a “black hole” gravitional event horizon that’s sucking everything and anything that’s worth anything into it’s maw. The end result “is” going to be national bankruptcy. The once mighty U.S. will not be able to pay it’s debt. Why, because it’s currency will have imploded into worthlessness, no longer accepted by anyone and yet we’ll still have everyone that’s loaned us money with their hand out saying pay-up our “infinite” debt due to the compound interest effect.

    What will they do. They will re-schedule the debt, not to our creditors but the debt they owe to all of this nation’s hard-working citizens. Military folks who are retired will see their pensions slashed in half or more the same as Social Security recipients and anyone else that’s getting a check in the mail courtesy of Uncle Sam. All programs will be slashed to the core or eliminated. Even the wealthy are going to wake up to the fact they are screwed big-time unless they were smart and had diversified their portfolios into offshore assets that were appreciating.

    The people will be squealing like stuck hogs, but our fearless leaders will simply look at the camera and say “tough”. They’l simply say it’s either this option or our entire currency system will simply be x’d off as an interantional medium of exchange. If you think this scenario can’t happen then think again. If we don’t accept their solution then we’ll all be living by the railroad tracks living in tarpaper shacks spearing rats with fire-hardened sticks… 😐

    All commodities are sky-rocketing as China, India and other major players are buying up oil companies, uranium mines, coal mines, gold mines and any other commodity that has long term appreciative value relative to mass consumption. The U.S. stock market is the worst performing of 55 world stock markets. Although the DOW reached 13,000 it lost half it’s value due to currency devaluation, so it’s intrinsic net worth is 6500. This adds insult to injury. This didn’t stop the greedy sob’s on Wall Street from paying themselves almost 40 billion dollars in bonuses at the end of last year. So folks you best visualize your once great nation as a once fat cow that foolishly tried to cross a piranha infested river. The national cow is badly wounded and the hungry devils everywhere and anywhere are tearing the flesh off this once great nation to the bone. The most ferocious of this predatory fish population are the members of the House and the Senate along with the Executive branch who are virtually tearing at our guts as they sell us out with their never-ending so-called “free trade” bills etc. enjoying fat kickbacks from their offshore patrons.

    My advice is every citizen best become “afraid…very afraid” and get motivated concerning the workings of their government. You need to start contacting your elected “republicats” and start hammering them to get it us out of this nation-destroying, treasury-sucking debacle in Iraq. You need to come down “haaaaaard” on them for having recently approved this trade bill to accommodate the Bushistas. The enemy is no longer at the gates, but has made it through outer and inner walls of this once great castle, America, and are now looting “the keep”…!

    I’ll provide the duty links to facilitate folks locating their reps. Start calling, emailing and showing up and meetings if and when they come to town. Don’t listen to them, tell them what you want. They aren’t in office to lecture you about their agenda and what they have planned for “you”. How foolish to have put them there then you are supposed to boot-lick them while they cut our nation’s throat. I think not…! Fire your thought-shot across the bow of dreadnaught “Tyranny”. It’s your country, your America, not theirs.


    p.s. I thought I’d post a link concerning Mitt Romney-R and his “plan” for AmeriKa. Ol’ Mr. $250,000,000.00 Mitt thinks we need to build a stronger military. Say what…!? I think I see a big fat, bold, “nada” X across his face as far as his candicacy for president. If he wants a “stronger” military then I urge him to donate half his fortune to the MIC investment program… :)) The reason I’m supplying this is because I want to show linkage between the fix we are in as a nation and the lunacy that these ego-maniacs proffer to us as “their” plan for our money; i.e., money neither we nor the nation has. It’s truly the “twilights last gleaming” unless “we the people” get motivated and say enough is enough…!
    God Bless America but more importantly God Save America from the forces of evil that are eating at this once great nation’s guts.