The Democratic-controlled panel of Senate and House of Representatives members meets on Monday to iron out differences between their respective Iraq supplemental bills, and it's expected the compromise bill will adopt the Senate's call for withdrawals to begin this year with a goal of all combat troops being out by March 31, 2008. The full House at least should vote on passage on Wednesday, and the bill is expected to reach Bush's desk by the end of the week. He will, of course, veto the measure and Democrats do not currently have the 2/3rd in both Houses necessary to override. So what then?
Speculation is now that Democrats may pass a short-term spending bill that would fund the war for only another two months or so. The thinking is that if the "surge" isn't producing the positive results by mid-to-late summer as promised by General Petraeus, more conservative Democrats and Republicans will then be supportive of a withdrawal date and such a stategy will eventually produce the requisite number in both Houses required to force Bush's hand.
It's certainly better than simply passing a full spending bill with softer provisions that won't really force much change. And I think it could work. Given the recent violence in Baghdad, statements by Gates and Petraeus, and the deployment extensions, it looks as if the "surge" really isn't going to have the intended effect promised during the summer. At that point, this escalation would become much less palatable to those still holding out hope for it success. And when that happens, Bush will lose a good chunk of the little support he has left.