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.


On the Net:

House of Representatives:


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  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

    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.

  5. 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.