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.