Thursday, July 12, 2007

House Passes Iraq Withdrawal Bill

By a vote of 223-201, the House passed legislation requiring the redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq in 120 days which would need to be completed by April 1st, 2008. There was no significant increase of Republican votes than there was on the similar measure Congress passed a few months ago attached to the supplemental funding for the war. As I noted yesterday, the Senate in all likelihood still lacks the votes to even invoke cloture on their almost identical Iraq timetable amendment to the 2008 defense authorization bill. And, of course, both chambers are far away from having veto-proof majorities.

This, however, does not mean I think we should settle for useless, half-measures:

Surprising even his colleagues, Reid harshly dismissed the measure with the broadest bipartisan backing -- a compilation of Iraq Study Group recommendations offered by freshman Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.). The Salazar proposal, which as of last night had attracted six Democratic and six Republican co-sponsors, "won't change one thing that the president does," Reid said, who is opposed to anything short of legislation ending U.S. combat operations.
Reid is absolutely right. This bill wouldn't force Bush to change Iraq policy one bit and is supported by Republican Senators like Pete Domeneci and Lamar Alexander because they can go home and say they voted for change without actually doing so.

Two others amendments are being proposed. One advanced by Democratic Senator Ben Nelson and Republican Senator Susan Collins "would force an immediate end to the U.S. combat mission without mandating troop withdrawals." The other, still in the works by Republicans Sens. Richard Lugar and John Warner, would meld this with the Iraq Study Group proposals, apparently.

Nelson and Collins officially introduced their amendment yesterday, seeking to drum up support for a measure that they say would force a sharp change in the mission in Iraq and a drawdown of forces without timelines.

Under the provision, the president would have to immediately shift U.S. forces from combat roles to protecting U.S. personnel in Iraq, training Iraqi security forces, securing the Iraqi border and fighting terrorism. The amendment sets a goal of completing that mission change by March 31, 2008.
I'm not sure if this would get enough bipartisan support to invoke cloture or not, and I'd need more details before I could support it.

Votes on these Iraq-related amendments are slated for next week.

UPDATE: Bush seemingly persuades wary Republicans to wait until September.

No comments: