Dems back down on troop withdrawl

Congressional Democrats have put on the back burner legislation ordering troops home from Iraq and turned their attention to war-related proposals that Republicans are finding hard to reject.

The legislative agenda marks a dramatic shift for party leaders who vowed repeated votes to end combat and predicted Republicans would eventually join them. But with Democrats still lacking enough votes to bring troops home, the party runs the risk of concluding its first year in control of Congress with little to show for its tough anti-war rhetoric.

“We can no longer approach the discussion on Iraq as a partisan issue,” said Rep. John Tanner, a conservative Democrat from Tennessee. “Our soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and Guardsmen aren’t fighting as Democrats or Republicans but as Americans.”

In the past week, the House passed two bills intended to curb misconduct by contractors in Iraq and one proposal by Tanner and Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, that requires updates on the Bush administration’s plans for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. combat forces.

Following last week’s rejection of a proposal by Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., to cut off money for combat, the Senate is expected to follow suit with similar bipartisan measures.

Delayed until early next year is debate on the $190 billion the military says it needs to fund the war through September 2008.

There is little doubt that Democrats are biding their time and deliberating their next step. Democrats are divided on whether to continue paying for a war they oppose, or cut off the money and be attacked politically for refusing to support the troops.

They also hope that Republicans will grow increasingly nervous about the war’s effect on the 2008 elections. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., who chairs the panel that oversees military funding, predicted last month that GOP lawmakers will jump ship after the primaries end.

“I see what happens to a Republican when they say we ought to start to get out,” Murtha said. “They bash them. I mean they attack them viscerally and of course they’re the ones that nominate them. Until that plays out we’re going to have a problem.”

Democrats calculate that the Pentagon has enough money for the war, through February or March, by borrowing against its annual budget. Military officials warn that doing so can disrupt vital programs, such as base support and training exercises, and cost more money in the long run.

Democrats say they are still challenging President Bush on the war. The House on Tuesday passed legislation by Abercrombie intended to make it easier to convict private contractors of fraud.

The bill, approved by a 375-3 vote, would create a federal criminal statute banning contracting abuse associated with military operations and reconstruction efforts. It also would ensure federal courts have jurisdiction in all cases, closing what Abercrombie says is a loophole in existing law that has let many contractors off the hook.

A similar measure by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., was approved in April by the Senate Judiciary Committee. A spokesman for Leahy said Republican objections have prevented it from getting a quick floor vote.


  1. Steve Horn

    I’m shocked,shocked to see that waivering is going on here! Given their apparent total lack of balls, it astounds me that these cocktail party liberals are able to procreate.

  2. Steve Horn

    I’m shocked,shocked to see that waivering is going on here! Given their apparent total lack of balls, it astounds me that these cocktail party liberals are able to procreate.

  3. Sandra Price

    Steve. There must be something that we do not know from the White House. Is there more corruption and cover up from the Democrats too? Could it be there is actually more to fear from Baghdad than we are being told?

    My whimpy House Rep was on CSPAN this morning and seemed to have been shaken with terror about the terrorists. He is not a very smart man and is driven by the religious right and it is hard to follow his statements.

    We might as well give in and continue to sacrifice our soldiers to what? Apparently it does not matter who is in the White House.

  4. bjiller

    Spineless or cynical, or both. They should force a vote on the war. Make the GOP filibuster to keep the war going. THEN hang this war around their necks for 2008.

    The Dems are just pissing all over the moderates who elected them to stop this war. Where will we moderates go in 2008? Now that we know (have been reminded) that we can’t trust the Dems to fulfill their promises to end the war, or even ATTEMPT to fulfill those promises, even when a substantial majority of the public favors ending the war, the war issue no longer is a reason to vote Democratic. So, we moderates will have to strongly consider voting for a moderate Republican to prevent these spineless, cynical hacks from controlling both the executive and the legislature. Gridlock is better than partisan extremism on either side.

  5. DejaVuAllOver

    The Dems: The party that brought you Hiroshima / Nagasaki. The party that brought you Korea. The party that brought you the Vietnam war, which was ended by the GOP. The party that gave Bush the power (as much as the GOP) to invade Iraq. This scum is even filthier than the GOP. Please do us a favor and go to Hades, Hillary. You’re as filthy, vile, evil and degenerate as Bush and Cheney. And please go home before you invade Iran, scum.

  6. SEAL

    bjiller: you are absolutely right. However, the genpop does not think the way we do. The only information they have to form their views comes from the MSM. They will not make any effort to look beyond the surface. The democraps in congress knows this. They know the genpop bought “support the troops” long ago and that is what allows them to continue the war. They keep passing bills to bring the troops home but Bush vetoes and the repugnants left in congress won’t support the bills. It’s all the repubs fault the war continues. So, the dems have no choice but to “support the troops.” That is what the genpop believes.

    Continuing the war is good for the democrapy party. It gives them the big club to beat the repugnants over the head with. That coupled with all the other “exposure” hearings and investigations is all you will get from the democrap until election time. Their plan is to use all of the repugnat’s screw-ups and theivery to make the genpop so disgusted with them that they will never vote for a repugnant again.

    For the democraps, this is their golden opportunity to turn us into a one political party nation. It will work too, at least for a generation. So, our soldiers will continue to die and be maimed when they could prevent it. But that is for the good of the party.

  7. pondering_it_all

    This is the Rove “scorched earth” strategy in action: Republicans in the Senate threaten to filibuster every single bill the Democratic majority brings to the floor, while the President vetoes any Democrat-sponsered bill that makes it through Congress.

    The whole idea is to make it seem like it is the fault of “Congress” that nothing gets accomplished, while it is really the actions of just the GOP congressmen and the President.

    The polls say the public sentiment toward Congress is lower than the President’s lousey numbers, but are they asking the right question? I think they should be asking: “How do you feel about the Republican leadership in Congress?” and “How do you feel about the Democratic leadership in Congress?” People know what’s going on here.

    And they will not forget by 2008: The actions of both the President and the GOP Congressional leadership will insure the Democrats capture both houses of Congress and the Presidency for the next 16 years. Or maybe even longer…