Cox & forkum: Cut and Run
As President Bush prepares to announce an increase in the number of U.S. troops fighting in Iraq, some Democrats say they would consider blocking funding for the escalation.When asked whether Congress would consider cutting off the funds, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, “We’re going take a look at it, of course.”
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, said his “office is now investigating what tools are available to us to condition or constrain appropriations” for the surge in troops. But he cautioned he doesn’t want troops already in Iraq to be “shortchanged.”
“So it creates a difficult situation for Democrats,” he said.
Aware of this concern, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, told reporters at a Capitol news conference Monday, “Democrats will not cut off funding for our troops.”
But, an aide later explained, the speaker is open to restricting money for the escalation, after hearings on the president’s new plan.
“We will always support the troops who are there,” Pelosi said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday. But, Pelosi added, “If the president wants to expand the mission, that’s a conversation he has to have with the Congress of the United States.
But that’s not … a blank check to him to do whatever he wishes there.”
Bush is scheduled to introduce his new Iraq strategy Wednesday night.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the rest of the Bush administration may be undecided on whether to send more troops to Iraq. But several soldiers he met with at Camp Victory here on Thursday morning said extra forces would help.
“Sir I think we need to just keep doing what we’re doing,” Spc. Jason T. Green, with the 101st Military Intelligence Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Infantry Division, told Gates during a breakfast session with about 15 U.S. soldiers.
“I really think we need more troops here. With more presence on the ground, more troops might hold them off long enough to where we can get the Iraqi Army trained up.”
The troops may be somewhat at odds with military commanders, who worry that rushing thousands more Americans to the battlefront could prompt Iraqis to slow their effort to take control of their country.
President Bush is telling lawmakers he will send thousands more U.S. troops to Iraq’s two most troubled regions, in a plan that Democrats are resisting as a major escalation of a 31/2-year-old war. On Tuesday, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (news, bio, voting record), D-Mich., said he expects Bush to announce that up to 20,000 additional troops will be sent to Iraq, but will not say how long the extra forces will be there.
A day before Bush’s nationally televised speech describing his proposal, Sen. Edward Kennedy (news, bio, voting record), a longtime critic of Bush and the war, will propose legislation denying him the billions needed to send more troops to war unless Congress agrees first. Though it was unclear whether the bill would ever reach the full Senate, it could at least serve as a rallying point for the most insistent foes of the Iraq conflict.
Democrats seem divided on whether to block funds for troop increases, but many were not ruling it out. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (news, bio, voting record), D-Nev., said Democrats would “look at everything” in their power to curb the war, short of cutting money for troops already in the field.
He said he would only consider an increase in U.S. forces in Iraq if Bush agreed to start withdrawing troops within six months.
The bill by Kennedy, D-Mass., is guaranteed to fuel the debate among lawmakers on how far they should go to try to force the president’s hand on the unpopular war.
Under the Constitution, the president has broad war-making powers, while Congress controls spending. Democratic leaders have swiftly rejected any suggestion of withholding money from troops already in combat zones.
“The Congress has the power of the purse and what we are saying is before the president sends additional American troops into the civil war, the president has to come back to the Congress and get the authority for that deployment,” Kennedy said Tuesday on NBC’s “Today” show.
“The American people ought to have a voice and a vote and members of Congress should be held accountable. We ought to take this step and stop the surge,” Kennedy said.
The Democrats are SPLIT. At least Ted Kennedy has the Cojones to propose legislation that the NUTROOTS and LEFT desire.
But, what about the mainstream Democrats?
Why aren’t the Democrats asking for equal time to respond to President Bush’s address to the nation tomorrow night?
What about the Democrats running for President and some who sit on the Senate Armed Services Committee?
Where do you stand on the Kennedy legislation? Do you want to cut off funding so the President will be forced to bring the troops home? Isn’t that what the Democrat Party ran on last November?
Come on, now, speak up………
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