Tuesday, May 08, 2007

September Seen As Key Deadline For War

House Minority Leader John Boehner and Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott have both indicated in the last few days that their respective Republican caucuses will need to see progress in Iraq by September of this year in order to hold together in support of President Bush. Why September? That's when Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commanding general in Iraq, has said that he will have a handle on whether the current troop increase is having any impact on political reconciliation between Iraq's sectarian groups. September is also the last month of the fiscal year in Washington. Without tangible signs of progress, Congress is likely to demand tougher conditions on war funding for fiscal 2008.

Taking advantage of this situation, House Democrats are set to propose a bill - which could come to a vote as early as Friday - that would seek a turnaround by the end of July:

House Democratic leaders are coming together around legislation that would fund the war through September but would withhold more than half of those funds until July, when Bush would have to report on the Iraqi government's progress toward benchmarks such as quelling sectarian violence, disarming militias and sharing oil revenue equitably. Congress would then have to vote in late July to release the remaining funds.
The legislation will also likely include tougher standards for resting, training and equipping troops. On the second required vote, Congress could put new conditions on the remaining money if lawmakers were not satisfied. Should they choose to block the funds, troop withdrawals would begin within 180 days.

It's not certain if this plan could pass the Senate, at least in its current form, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is seeing how the debate unfolds and if the plan picks up Republican support.
Some on the left will still see this as "capitulation." But if September is indeed the deadline many House and Senate Republicans have set for themselves in supporting Bush's "surge" plan, this may be a smart strategy to buy more time to garner the votes to override Bush on troop withdrawals.

UPDATE: The AP is reporting Bush would veto Democrats' new Iraq bill.


Jedi4375 said...

The American people want to see the war end. The American people do not want to see funding shortages that contribute to troop fatalities in the field.

The Democrats need to bargin, the bargin can not be to with hold funds. July is unimportant and setting this date will give Republicans fire power in the polls to claim Democratic funding policies lead to our failure in Iraq and not Bush.

Fund the troops until September no strings attached, spend your political money in September when you will be able to do the most damage. Spend the mean time compromising within your own party to come up with a unity vision for post September 2007.

Did you also hear they are moving the Texas primaries to Feburary? This is so Texas has a larger vote in the decision of who the candidates are earlier in voting.

adam said...

This is already a bargain! Giving another blank check to Bush is acquisence.

The Texas Senate hasn't passed the primary move yet, but hopefully they will.