In grudging concessions to President Bush, Democrats intend to draft an Iraq war-funding bill without a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and shorn of billions of dollars in spending on domestic programs, officials said Monday.So Democrats not only lose the timeline but also the desired domestic spending, attaining only a minimum wage increase that has been stalled in negotiations by Congressional Republicans.
The legislation would include the first federal minimum wage increase in more than a decade, a top priority for the Democrats who took control of Congress in January, the officials added.
The report does go on to say that the proposal hasn't been presented to the party's rank and file yet and that the legislation was subject to change. While it's clear the final bill will not include a timetable for withdrawal, it will include some kind of benchmarks for the Iraqi government.
Failure to make progress toward the goals could cost the Iraqis some of the reconstruction aid the United States has promised, although it was not clear whether Democrats intended to give Bush power to order the aid to be spent regardless of progress...Giving Bush a waiver for such penalties was deried as "tepid and weak" by Democrats last week, who voted against such a measure proposed by Republicans. Such conditions will be meaningless if Bush can simply ignore them. I don't even understand why the GOP accepts this.
Either way, Democratic leaders have said they hope to clear a war spending bill through both houses of Congress and send it to Bush's desk by week's end. They added the intention was to avoid a veto.It is not really clear what has happened since Friday when Democratic leaders seemed tough in the negotiations. It was said that nothing was off the table, including another bill with a timeline that would get vetoed.
It seems hard to believe that most Democrats in Congress will vote for this, meaning that it will have to pass with significant Republican support. However, the report also states that "Democrats in both houses are expected to seek other opportunities to challenge Bush's handling of the unpopular conflict later this year."
Let's hope so.