Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Movement on Iraq in House?

Today, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly, 377-46, voted for a bill that simply requires President Bush to submit a plan for a withdrawal of troops from Iraq; under the bill, the administration must report to Congress on the status of redeployment plans in 60 days and follow-up reports would be required every 90 days thereafter. Many members of the "Out of Iraq" caucus opposed it since it doesn't attach any binding time line for troops to be pulled out and feared it will give Republicans political cover by enabling them to say they opposed Bush on the war in some way.

Thankfully, some Democrats took a much more hard line stance:
Top House Democratic appropriators said Tuesday they will not move a new war funding bill until early next year and will condition it on a goal of January 2009 for an end to U.S. combat operations in Iraq.

Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey of Wisconsin and Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania said two other benchmarks also should be met before more funds are appropriated for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: adequate time at home between deployments for U.S. troops and an intensive diplomatic effort involving other countries in the region.
To dramatize the cost of the Iraq War, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates is running $10 billion a month, they also proposed an income tax surcharge to pay for future military operations in Iraq.It would be a progressive surtax of 2 to 15 percent based on which income tax bracket you're in, with the wealthier paying the higher percentage of course. Rep. Jim McGovern made the proposal awhile back, but now Obey and Murtha are throwing their considerable weight behind it. However, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is not in support.

But Obey summed up his positions well:

“If you don’t like the cost, then shut down the war,” Obey said in a news conference.

Obey also told reporters President Bush will not get supplemental money for the Iraq war until he agrees to change course.

Bush has sent a request for a $190 billion supplemental spending bill.

“As chairman of the Appropriations Committee I have absolutely no intention of reporting out of committee anytime in this session of Congress any such request that simply serves to continue the status quo,” Obey told reporters.

Will the rest of the caucus and the Senate support his position? I hope so and we'll see. It sure beats Republican Senator George Voinovich's We-can-begin-to-change-the-mission-in-15-months-after-Bush-has-already-left-office plan and all the other weak legislation that won't do anything to end the war.

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