Thursday, March 01, 2007

Dems Reject Budget Cuts

Just hours after floating the idea of cutting $20 billion from President Bush's $142 billion request for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan next year, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad was overruled by fellow Democrats Thursday.

"It's nothing that any of us are considering," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters.

Conrad's trial balloon to cut war funding would have affected the budget year beginning Oct. 1 and was separate from the ongoing debate over Bush's $100 billion request for immediate supplemental funding for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Even the Pentagon acknowledges that its $142 billion 2008 war funding request is simply a best guess of Iraq and Afghanistan costs, and Conrad's proposal didn't earn rebukes from Budget Committee Republicans.

But the speed with which it was rejected by his colleagues seemed to reflect Democrats' sensitivity to any accusations of giving shortshrift treatment to funding for troops in battle.

"Our caucus feels strongly that we should go with the president's numbers" on 2008 war costs, Conrad said. He spoke just hours after floating the idea of curbing Bush's request for next year's war budget.
It appears that Conrad was taken into a back room and properly "re-educated" on the current Senate Democratic line on Iraq, which apparently is to avoid any action that can be mistaken for progress in ending the war, such as de-funding the war.

UPDATE: Via Adam, the House Democrats plan on the war:

House Democratic leaders have coalesced around legislation that would require troops to come home from Iraq within six months if that country's leaders fail to meet promises to help reduce violence there, party officials said Thursday.

The plan would retain an earlier Democratic proposal prohibiting the deployment to Iraq of troops with insufficient rest or training or who have been there for more than a year. Under the plan, such troops could only be sent to Iraq if President Bush waives those standards and reports to Congress each time.

The proposal is the latest attempt by Democrats to resolve deep divisions within the party on how far to go to scale back U.S. involvement in Iraq. Rep. James Moran (news, bio, voting record) said the latest version has the support of party leadership and said he believes it is final and has the best chance at attracting broad support.
Interestingly, it appears to retain elements of the Murtha plan, which was thought to be failing. I reserve judgment, pending more details.

UPDATE: Dear God, I missed this (via Mother Jones):

While Democrats try to restrict how President Bush can spend the $100 billion he wants for Iraq, they also hope to load his measure up with $10 billion in add-ons...

Lawmakers from the Great Plains are pressing for about $4 billion in disaster aid for farmers suffering under drought conditions.

The California delegation is demanding help for citrus, avocado and other Central Valley farmers facing $1.2 billion in losses from a devastating January freeze.
And so on and so on. Mind you, the idea here isn't to pump the bill so full of special interest spending that Bush has to veto it. No, the idea is to take advantage of the fact that Bush and Congressional Republicans would never have the cojones to stop a war spending bill, and thus push through a lot of favorite projects.

What? Seriously, what? Talk about having a tin ear. Didn't the Democrats ride into Congress promising to end the march of bills swollen on earmarks and Republican pork barrel projects? Are they seriously proposing this right now?
That article is from yesterday. I'm hoping that in today's articles, the writers simply forgot to mention that the Democrats met overnight and decided to reject the pork-barrell approach.

1 comment:

adam said...

The proposal to require troops to come home from Iraq within six months unless the Iraqis meet certain benchmarks is encouraging, and a better place than where things seemed to be going just yesterday. Apparently, the Senate, could begin floor debate on Iraq as early as next week. Biden and Levin have proposed a resolution that would call for combat troops to come home by March 2008. Though they are going to have to allow a vote on Republican alternatives - including a resolution that would state they will not cut off funds - in return.