Spin machines: Both sides claim victory

Sens. Mitch McConnell, John Warner claim victory (AP)Republicans and Democrats alike are claiming victory as Congress moves toward passing this week a final Iraq spending bill that funds the war and does not order troops home.

"Democrats have finally conceded defeat in their effort to include mandatory surrender dates in a funding bill for the troops, so forward progress has been made for the first time in this four-month process," said House Republican leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

But as Republicans celebrated, Democrats said the final bill was an example of how far they had been able to push the White House, which initially demanded no restrictions on war funding and opposed the more than $20 billion in domestic and military spending added by the Democrats.

The estimated $120 billion measure would fund about $17 billion in domestic and military-related spending that Bush did not request. It also would threaten to withhold reconstruction aid if Baghdad fails to make progress on political and security reforms.

"I think it's a giant step to begin the end of this war," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Lawmakers were on track to pass by week's end legislation that would fund the war through September. Unable to override another presidential veto, Democrats agreed not set a date for U.S. troop withdrawals.

The estimated $120 billion measure would fund about $17 billion in domestic and military-related spending that Bush did not request. It also would threaten to withhold reconstruction aid if Baghdad fails to make progress on political and security reforms.

The White House initially was cool to the idea of imposing consequences against the Iraqi government for failing to meet benchmarks, even though the president would be allowed to ignore the restriction if he wants.

The agreement capped weeks of closed-door negotiations among White House aides and Senate and House Democratic leaders.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Democrats now will focus on 2008 defense spending to try to force an end to the war. The House plans to consider the military's annual budget this July and delay debate on 2008 war funding to September, just as the White House delivers a critical progress report on Iraq.

"I think we have moved debate very substantially forward, and we will continue to do so" in the upcoming spending bills, said Hoyer, D-Md.

Pelosi's declaration of victory was in spite of her inclination to vote against the war funding measure because it does not include a timetable for troop withdrawals. Other House Democrats said they too would oppose it.

"I'm not voting for anything unless it ends the war," said Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.

In order to secure the bill's passage, House leaders are planning to orchestrate two votes on Thursday. The first vote will be on war funding, while the second will decide whether extra money should be spent on domestic emergencies, military base closures, veterans care and other projects.

While Pelosi, Waters and other like-minded Democrats are expected to vote against the first amendment on war funds, GOP members will likely make up for the losses. On the second vote, it is anticipated Democrats will be unified in their support for the measure and overcome GOP objections to the extra spending.

Under the plan, the Senate would receive a single bill and cast its own vote by Friday. If Senate Republicans want to block the added domestic spending, they would have to block the war funds as well.

Tying U.S. aid dollars to Iraqi progress was a concept pushed last week by a group of moderate Republicans but rejected by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as too weak. On Tuesday, as Reid firmed up a deal with the White House and House leaders, the Democratic leader said passage of the proposal still marked a turning point.

"It's a lot more than the president ever expected he'd have to agree to," Reid, D-Nev., told reporters.

Comments

  1. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    When Danger Rears its Ugly head Nancy & Harry Turned and fled
    BRAVE -BRAVE -BRAVE -BRAVE DEMOCRATS!!!

    The Democrats have F*cked us, I think we have to be creative and one thing the Democrats would take note is Democratic constituents changing their party en masse; perhaps Republican posters at CHP would also do same from their party.
    It may be vain, but what is their to lose except mabye putting off
    getting a chocolate chip cookie or watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail tomorrow.
    The Democrats sure have taken to heart a famous phrase from
    Monty Python & the Holy Grail which is: ‘RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY”

    I have already changed my voter registration to ‘decline to state’.
    It can be done online, after you complete this on-line form, a typed registration form will be sent to you. After you receive the pre-typed form, just sign it and mail it to your county election official.

    http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_vr.htm

    This Link is just for California, but take the initiative and do a Google Online search for online voter registration in your state.

  2. Joe Sedlak

    Feelings are mixed about the latest effort by Congress to get Bush’s attention about changing policy and tactics on the so-called war in Iraq. Any effort to balance this administration’s policies has to be seen as a victory – not necessarily a full victory – but another small one leading up to the big one – getting our troops home.

    Who says the new funding is to support the troops anyway? How much of the proposed new funding would actually support the troops – rather than the contractors, the mercenaries, etc., etc.??? Would the new funds be used to properly equip our troops? to train the Iraqis? to build a humongous US Embassy? to build new bowling allies in the green zone that is off limits to our fighting troops?

    What is with the neo-com republican rhetoric that people can’t see through the smoke screen? It is absolutely impossible to withdraw funding immediately. “Cut and run” is pure nonsense – it just can’t be done!

    I am so sick of hearing journalists talk about withdrawing funds for the military as a sudden, one-time action – as though anyone in Washington, including the president, had the power to suddenly pull the plug on funding anything.

    Cutting off funding of any federal program is a long complicated process – taking many months or even years. If the funds for the war were cut off today at midnight, it would take a couple of years to gradually implement the decision – and of course any withdrawal of troops would necessarily be a gradual process.

    In my continuing frustration over this mess, why doesn’t at least one or two journalists start questioning their own rhetoric?

  3. marta

    Other than Waxman, Kucinich, Boxer, and a few others, I feel I wasted my time voting the Democratic ticket.

    Mary Landrieu and Joe Lieberman are more in Bush’s pocket than Chuck Hagel and Ron Paul.

    Why hasn’t Kucinich’s bill to impeach Cheney not getting the support it needs?

    Somebody please tell me just what the Democrats have done to stop the war? And, while you’re at it, why IS Pelosi declaring victory?
    I would rather hear a “Sorry, guys, we tried but didn’t have the votes” than this “Victory Bulls**t”. She must be a fool to think that the voters will believe her… Or have American voters become that gullible?

  4. Steve Horn

    Carl – nice bit – what most Americans seem to forget (except for the period between January and mid April every year) is that the “Deli” is really more of an invitational buffet – and that we the people are the ones funding the feast – to which we are not invited.

    I do find it interesting that the meat in question is “pork”. The connection between flatus and pork consumption is well documented. This could explain the foul, hot wind that blows from the halls of congress!

    Look at those smug, fat faces, those hollow, empty eyes and ask yourself, do they look like leaders? I think not. Most leaders I’ve known have true fire in their eyes and a strong passion for what they’re doing. They lead by example rather than shoving from behind. They stand for and by what they say and are willing to engage in true debate. If proven wrong, they’ll accept, admit and, if need be, offer an apology. Those are not traits of Senators and Representatives. From those pickled brains behind those hollow, dead eyes all one gets is the sense that they’ll do anything needed to absolve themselves of blame while passing it off to someone else, so they can retain power.

    Next election cycle, look into the eyes of the candidates, listen to their words, compare one oration to another, search for the consistent, the rational, the fact based arguments, search for a candidate with a fire in their gut to do the right thing – then abandon party prejudice and vote for integrity and reason, rather than the same old shit.

    Time has come to shut this buffet down.

    Peace

    Steve

  5. Carl Nemo

    Simply take a look at the photo associated with this article and you are looking at the face, of aged, well-seasoned corruption. When I listen to Senate or House hearings on C-SPAN, I’m always amazed at the endless blustering, pompous introductions, and duty ass-kissing that’s prevalent at these proceedings. In many cases they almost apologize while they butt-kiss the person in the hotseat, thanking them for their many years of service to the country etc…blah blah ad nauseam ad infinitum.

    All of them, old, evil, corrupt-to-the-core men and women controlling America’s purse strings and policies. So when you get a corrupt administration on top of these aforementioned mattoids, you end up with corruption to the second power.

    America is in “harms way” with these people in D.C. I hope when future elections come around that Americans remember these people and their actions, then kick as many out of office as possible regardless of how many years worth of “pulled pork” sandwiches they’ve been pitching back home, courtesy of the U.S. Treasury “deli”.

    I guess what we are witnessing is linked to my favorite expression for this phenomena; i.e., the “The Empire of the Rising Scum” effect…! : |

    Carl Nemo **==

  6. Steve Horn

    Just an aside – as both parties had blow hards claiming “victory” nine Americans died in Iraq. At least that’s the count as of 12:54 –

    So “mission accomplished” for the Dem’s – let’s put Pelousy on a carrier so she can pound her chest and proclaim her victory.