Here are the Highlights:
House and Senate Democrats over the next several weeks will reconcile their
versions of a massive supplemental funding bill for U.S. military operations in
Iraq and Afghanistan. President Bush, meanwhile, has threatened to veto any
compromise that includes deadlines for withdrawing U.S. troops.
Normally, we would be skeptical of attempts by Congress to write war
strategy into law -- as opposed to exercising its Constitutional duties to
declare and finance wars. But these are not normal times. President Bush
continues to run the war as if the 2006 midterm election didn't happen, and as
if the U.S. Congress doesn't matter.
If, as seems likely, Bush Veto's this bill, the temptation will be to send the same bill back again.
This would be a mistake, and would perhaps allow Bush to regain the initiative when it comes to the battle for public opinion.
Sen. Barack Obama is right: Regardless of the truly high stakes of this
dispute, Washington should not play "chicken" with funding for our troops.
The DLC offers three alternative suggestions:
First, they should quickly pass a short-term and clean supplemental appropriations bill that will simultaneously give the troops what they need while forcing the president to come back and ask for more funding in three months. That will give Congress a chance to evaluate the administration's "surge" of troops into Iraq, which administration officials have assured us will show results by late summer...
Second, Congress should examine not only whether security has improved in Baghdad, but also whether the Maliki government has made a good faith effort to reconcile Iraq's Sunni community to the post- Saddam political order. While there is too much glib talk about forcing the government to somehow deliver a "political solution" to the war, there's no doubt that real progress on the political front, more than U.S. troop levels, is the key to stabilizing the country.
Third, congressional Democrats should call for a diplomatic strategy to accompany the administration's military strategy in Iraq. For four long years, we've been fighting in a regional and international diplomatic vacuum. This makes absolutely no sense.
Personally, the idea of funding our troops while making Bush crawl back to Capitol Hill to ask for even MORE money for his unpopular war makes a lot of political sense to me.
The New Democrats finish with the following thought:
Democrats cannot totally impose their will so long as George W. Bush clings to
power. But they can expose his stubborn folly in the court of public opinion,
which he cannot forever defy.
I hope ahd believe this is true.