House Dems backing down on Iraq

After weeks of refusing to back down to President Bush on setting a timetable on the Iraq war, House Democratic leaders soon will be in the awkward position of explaining to members why they feel they must.

Party officials said Monday the next war spending bill most likely will fund military operations and not demand a timeline to bring troops home, although it will contain other restrictions on Bush's Iraq policies.

On May 1, Bush vetoed a $124.2 billion bill that would have paid for combat in Iraq and Afghanistan through September as Bush requested, but demanded that troops start coming home this fall.

Democrats say they hope to send Bush a new bill by the end of the week he will sign, and troops in combat will get the resources they need without disruption.

"I'm frustrated" with the war, said Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., a member of the Blue Dog coalition, a group of conservative Democrats. "But we realize too we have a responsibility to fund our troops and make sure they have the right equipment."

But Democratic leaders first will have to sway a large number of Democrats who want to end the war immediately — or pick up enough Republican votes to make up for the losses. Earlier this month, 171 House members voted to order the withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq within nine months.

The details of the Democrats' new bill remained in flux late Monday, as Rep. David Obey was tasked with negotiating with the Senate and White House. Obey, D-Wis., is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Officials said the legislation was expected to include political and military goals for the Iraqi government to meet toward establishment of a more democratic society. Failure to make progress toward the goals could cost the Iraqis some of the reconstruction aid the United States has promised, although it was not clear whether Democrats intended to give Bush power to order the aid to be spent regardless of progress.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said softening such a restriction might not be necessary to get the president's support.

"I think at some juncture, the American people are going to say 'Mr. President, you made your point. Now sign the bill,'" said Hoyer, D-Md.

The bill also was expected to insist that U.S. troops meet certain standards before being sent into battle, out of concern from Democrats that some troops were going to Iraq without proper training. But the measure likely would give the president authority to waive this restriction.

Even if deadlines for troop withdrawals are dropped as expected, Democratic leaders are claiming victory in the high-profile fight with Bush.

For weeks, the president demanded Congress send him a "clean" bill without any restrictions on the war. Last week, a top aide told Democrats the president would accept legislation drafted by Sen. John Warner, R-Va., that would restrict U.S. aid for Iraq if Baghdad does not make progress on political and security reforms. That proposal, however, included a presidential waiver that would have allowed Bush to ignore the restriction.

The Democrats' new bill also was expected to include the first federal minimum wage increase in more than a decade, a top priority for the Democrats who took control of Congress in January.

White House officials have said Bush was amenable to accepting an increase in the minimum wage, although they and key GOP lawmakers favor larger tax cuts to accompany the measure.


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  1. Dayahka

    Six months ago, I was hopeful that by this time George Bush would be in a corner. Now, I realize the man is the “Harlem Globetrotter” of politics. He’s run circles around the dumocrats making them appear as the clowns they are. What a great show! I hate the fellow, but he’s quite clever and talented. And I doubt he’s lost a minute of sleep since the dumocrats took over. I predict more of the same for the next year and a half.

  2. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    The Dems are up to their SPINELESS JELLYFISH behavior again, and with only 25% of Americans supporting this war, what is the downside for the Dems to require a mandatory withdrawl date!

    I have been calling all my Congresspeople & Senators every day for over 2 weeks to tell them that the Iraq funding bill must have a mandatory withdrawl date.

    However, things do not look good after the Dems last proposal to Bush for allowing him to waive withdrawl dates which is utterly stupid.

    So much for Pelosi and Reid’s refusal to give Bush a blank check.
    Their giving him a cashiers check instead.

    I believe the AIPAC lobby is a significant factor with a good percentage of Dems who will not go with a mandatory withdrawl date.

    No, I am not anti-Semitic. There is a brilliant American Jew, Joel Beinin, who is a Professor of Middle Eastern studies at Stanford University who is very critical of the AIPAC lobby, and of the policies of Israel against Palestinians and he has been labled as a self-hating Jew. He was put
    on a Bush list of subversive people against America. Check out his

    I will go Indpendent if the Dems give Bush a free ride on
    the Iraq funding bill which the AP release seems to indicate.

    Fu*k the Dems if they don’t require a mandatory withdrawl date.

  3. mary cali


    The Dems do not have the votes to override the president’s veto and the troops in Iraq do need the $$$
    The troops are being held for ransom and the Ds paid the ransom. The whole country is being held hostage by the Bush administration in regards to this war that we can’t exit.

  4. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    They may not have the votes to overide a veto, but they can still deny the funds for allowing the war to be prosecuted through the end of the year.
    I agree with John Edwards that Congress should just keep sending the same bill over and over untill bush realizes he will be forced to bring the troops home by a mandatory end date.

    What do you think, that if the money is denied that the troops will run out of ammunition in a lurch and put in danger -Wake Up! They are already being put into danger as we speak!

    Giving Dubya more money is just going to get more troops killed, so did you ever think of that! Excuse me Mary, but I do not accept your premise that by giving into Bush that we are not supporting the troops.

    Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid got Democrats voted into a majority in 06′ by telling the public they were going to do all they could for a course change in the war.

    We are being held hostage by the SPINELESS DEMOCRATS who are worried more about the political expediency of getting elected in 08′

    The Democrats are not paying RANSOM to Bush as you said; The Democrats are little more then PIMPS for Bush funding his money to escalate the war with the result of getting more troops killed.

    Please tell me Democrats, what is the downside of denying Bush his money to escalate the war when 75% percent of Americans are saying to get the flock out of the war + Bush’s approval rating is at a all time low of 34%. What are you afraid of Fu*king JELLYFISH-CRATS!!!

    Now remember, Nancy Pelosi told Bush Congress would not give him a blank check for the war, and what do they do last week, they offer Bush the option to waive any mandatory withdrawl date. What the Democrats have done is nothing less then capitulation.

  5. mary cali


    However, I am not ready to come down so hard on the Ds. I am confident that they will continue the process for redeployment of the troops. We are all being held hostage to Iraq and the war, for as Al Gore said on Larry King last night we now have a moral obligation not to just suddenly pull out of Iraq, without concern for what follows. If you remember Gore was vehemently opposed to the war. Others such as Generals Zinni and Wesley Clarke opponents of the war, share the same opinion. As a nation we broke it, and, unfortunately, we now own it.

    I am sure it gave most Ds heartburn to vote for the bill, but we do need to fund the troops there. The Ds cannot afford to appear to be indifferent to that reality.

    I have a son in the military who has been to Iraq and will likely be going again. I have a son-in-law in the green zone. Noone is more furious about how we were lied into this unnecessary and unwise war and noone wants us out more quickly than myself.

    I have faith that most of the Ds in Congress want out of Iraq. We need to pressure them, but support them as they go through the political process to get our troops redeployed. This is not the end of the story. Ds or Rs, for that matter, are not going to keep voting to fund this war that the vast majority of Americans do not support.

  6. Rick Fuller

    If the Dems dig in their heels, the Bush loyalists label them: “uncooperative”, “divisive”, or any other unflattering pejorative.

    If the Dems give Mr. Bush a spending without restrictions, the anti-Bush crowd labels them: “cowards”, “quitters” or any other unflattering pejorative.

    It’s a no win situation.

    I do hope that the Democrats send Mr. Bush a bill with SOME TEETH in it – that is why we elected them to Congress – to keep Mr. Bush in check.

  7. Carl Nemo

    The above figure represents what “we the people” pay the 435 House members and the 100 Senators per annum to do the business of government. This does not include the cushy benefits; i.e., the best medical plans, cush investment plans, cheap chef prepared gourmet meals, deluxe gym facilities, transportation, franking privileges, state-based offices in multiple locations etc. ad nauseam ad infinitum that these ineffective “duds” receive annually courtesy of the American taxpayer. It’s probably closer to several hundred million per annum to keep them in the lifestyle to which they are accustomed. By statute their salary is currently pegged at $165,200 per annum. They just gave themselves another payraise. Nice huh…!

    They are not only compensated handsomely, although many of them would say otherwise, regardless of the contributions they also receive from their shadowy corporate contributors; but worse yet, they seem to cleared for one thing; i.e., “hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil” like the three brass monkies. They surely know how to spend the taxpayers money with their latest $2.9 trillion dollar budget. That’s 2,900 “billion” dollars folks and each billion is one thousand million bucks of “debt-money”…!

    So they can’t pull-off immigration reform, they can’t extricate us from Iraq; gee what can they do for their pay. I guess, simply go home for the holidays and enjoy as much time off the job as possible. It’s such a taxing job…”pun” intended…! : |

    I’ll provide some informational and “duty” links so folks can contact these miscreants, allowing you;i.e., “we the people” to put your collective seaboots up their butts and to tell them to get crackin’ or they won’t be going back to their high pay/zero performance job in the next election cycle. People need to get genuinely upset; i.e., angry about this ongoing non-performance on the part of their elected officials.

  8. mary cali


    The Founding Fathers made the legislative process slow and ponderous for a purpose,in order not to make quick and radical legislative departures. The process is frustrating, but in the long run reflects the wisdom of the Founders.

    The Democrats do not have enough votes to override a presidential veto. Legislation concerning redeployment of troops in Iraq will
    require Republican support. The immigration issue is very complex with competing interests. Legislation to address it cannot be developed with a magic wand as much as we would like.

    At this juncture, power is so evenly divided between the two parties that, for better or worse, one party cannot rapidly impose a legislative agenda.

  9. stewart

    Whether or not the Democrats suffered a defeat when George W vetoed the former bill makes little difference at this point. In reality it was political posturing at best from both parties. What is truly sad and becomes more and more depressing by the day is the fact that in reality the Democrats and Republicans placed face to face are almost mirror images. Politics has become the job for those who could do otherwise but choose to be lazy.
    Think about it ladies and gentlemen, these men and women are hightly intelligent individuals. Before they bogged themselves down with the millstone of politics they were lawyers, doctors, professionals from an assortment of jobs which generally take a fair amount of education. Why is then when all these people get “inside the beltway” they get stupid…..maybe this is unfair….maybe they just set aside common sense and intelligence until they leave Washington. Maybe they forget what it’s really like to connect with the “common man”. They become paternalistic in nature…(or maternalistic depending)they take the attitude that anyone other than a politician “wouldn’t understand” the ins and outs of the political process so, as a result basically disregard the voters who put them into office when they attempt to interject some sanity into the process. They all have personal agendas, generally, on the top of the list is getting re-elected of course.
    I digress. Instead of posturing, instead of filling legislation with pork which is the meat of getting reelected yes I know, instead of loading every piece of legislation with amendments that have little or nothing to do with the legislation itself….maybe it is time to go back to the work of the nation. They real work of the nation, not the baloney that is considered today.
    Yes, this is a ramble, but I needed to ramble today. I’m frustrated, saddened, disgusted and to a point where I am beginning to look at politics as a waste of not only money and time but good manpower. Have they come up with a robot that can push the electronic vote button? I mean program the Democratic robots to vote one way and the Republicans to vote another and we’ed pretty much get what we have already and those folks in office now could get real jobs again. What is also sad is that I’m having a hard time reaching my students, I teach Political Science by the way, yes, a hard time because so many come to me now with the attitude of why bother, politicians dont listen, politicians don’t care about anything other than assuring themselves of work.

    Kerry Stewart

  10. gene

    So I am really shocked. This nation is (DEAD) whether you choose to believe it or not, our days are numbered. Nothing but idiots every where I go, even at walmarts nothing but stupid, fat (and I mean fat) idiots. People driving faster as gas goes up, having children as if life is getting better.

    Now all I need is someone to tell me about the american spirit…………(laughing)……go ahead, your an idiot too.

    YOU stupid f**king dems, your NO better than the repubs, I suspect you are whoring each other. What a sick world I/we live in. THESE ARE THE LAST OF THE LAST DAYS. Get ready, the shit is about to hit the fan and to tell you the truth, I’M READY!!!!

  11. phillies

    Congressional Democrats show why they are no more fit to govern than are their Republican opponents. The Democrats held the high cards–the power of the purse–and they didn’t have the courage to play them.

    If you want a party that will end the pointless War On Iraq, a war based on lying to the American people, there is only one choice. The Libertarian choice.

    George Phillies
    For real change, vote Libertarian

  12. KayInMaine

    …by switching our political party affiliations from D to I. I am going to do that tomorrow. I’ve had it. I want change and that is what I voted for. I don’t care if the dems and the repukes feel they both had a victory today, because I’m not feeling it! This was not a victory. It was and is an abomination.