Shocka: Dems set to increase funding for war; Update: House to vote on timetable for withdrawal?

posted at 6:06 pm on March 6, 2007 by Allahpundit

A last-ditch effort to win this baby and come home with honor? Nah. Politics.

House Democrats are pushing to add billions of dollars to President Bush’s $93.4 billion request for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, including $900 million for troops suffering from brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

An additional $2.5 billion would go to strengthen training and readiness for forces not deployed in war zones, and $1.4 billion would go to address housing allowance shortfalls…

The Democratic add-ons for military health care, readiness and mine-resistant vehicles are aimed in part at making the bill more attractive to lawmakers, including Republicans who might be considering voting against the measure over language that would curb deployments of troops to Iraq who have had insufficient rest or training or who already had served there for more than a year.

In other words, they’re trying to feed Bush a poison pill; the question is how much tasty pork they have to wrap it in before he and the GOP will bite down. Spending on troop health care is as tasty as it gets, but ironically it’s not Republicans who are Pelosi’s main problem right now. The far left is demanding that the bill include a deadline for withdrawal; conservative Democrats are balking. The result:

If the Democratic leadership puts a date certain for withdrawal in the bill, there’s a chance that enough Blue Dog Democrats would defect and vote with Republicans, meaning the bill could go down to defeat outright. While that might suit anti-war lawmakers and groups, the political consequences could be disastrous for the party. It would end the Iraq war by default since there would be no more money for combat operations, and Republicans would punish the Democrats for years over it.

But if she leaves out a date-certain withdrawal, Pelosi may lose her left, and that’s her power base, both within the Democratic Caucus and the party at large. She faces a very ticklish task sorting the whole thing out, although the senior Democrat lawmaker isn’t worried. Pelosi “will get everyone on board at the end of the day,” the lawmaker insisted.

The proposed compromise is a diluted version of Murtha’s slow bleed except instead of funding being cut off if troops are deployed without having met certain readiness levels, Bush would have the option of waiving the necessary certifications — as long as he does so publicly. They’re willing to continue paying for the war they hate, in other words; they just want to keep Bush’s face on the mission and make sure KIAs going forward can be blamed on inadequate training (a la Murtha blaming Haditha on “fatigue”) instead of enemy action. WaPo doesn’t think the MoveOn crowd is going to go for it, though, so benchmarks are being added in hopes of winning them over:

Under those benchmarks, which Bush laid out in a speech to the nation Jan. 10, the Iraqi government would have to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq’s provinces by November, and adopt and implement oil-revenue-sharing legislation. The government would also have to spend $10 billion of Iraq’s money on job-creating reconstruction and infrastructure projects; hold new provincial elections this year; liberalize laws that purged Baath Party members from the government; and establish a fairer process for amending the Iraqi constitution.

If those benchmarks are not met, Democrats would demand Bush submit to Congress a timetable for withdrawing troops, leadership aides said. The idea is to force Bush to abide by his own promises but to make sure he remains responsible for conducting and ending the war.

Exit question: The insidery Politico piece about Democratic wrangling linked above was written by John Bresnahan. I guess that public display of shinola-eating by the editor over the term “slow bleed” did the trick, huh?

Update: Influence Peddler says Pelosi might appease the anti-war caucus by giving them a token vote that’s sure to fail on cutting off funds.

Update: Politico‘s hearing something similar, except it’s not funds that’ll be voted on. It’s a timetable:

House Democratic leaders, seeking a compromise with several dozen anti-war lawmakers in their own caucus, are considering a vote on a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq before considering $98 billion in new military spending.

In return for the vote, the leaders want the 50 to 75 anti-war Democrats to support the wartime funding, if their proposal fails.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her leaders face an uprising from liberal Democrats opposed to the wartime supplemental. If they allow a House floor vote to set a withdrawal date, it would be the first such vote in either the House or the Senate since the Democrats took control of Congress in January. And it would mark a new phase in the political struggle over the conflict…

These [anti-war] Democrats opposed the war since its start and, despite the new Democratic majority in the House, are not at all eager to vote for the new war funds. Supporting the money, they argue, would give them “ownership” of the war along with Bush and the Republicans in Congress.


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Should we give ‘em the benefit ‘O the doubt? Or did they come to the conclusion that defunding the war is political suicide? Door number 2.

Tony737 on March 6, 2007 at 6:10 PM

I dub this new plan, “Bleed Slower.”

Bob Owens on March 6, 2007 at 6:20 PM

Can we question their patriotism yet?

RightWinged on March 6, 2007 at 6:32 PM

They’re just trying to hedge their bets, simple as that.

thirteen28 on March 6, 2007 at 6:36 PM

The Dem 2008 Convention is going to be a ratings blockbuster, or at least the coverage of the protests/riots outside will be… it really will be 1968 all over again.

rw on March 6, 2007 at 6:43 PM

12 months of stabilization after troops return home? Don’t they realize that will increase the time that soldiers are overseas? You ain’t going home if there ain’t nobody replacing you.

JasonG on March 6, 2007 at 6:43 PM

12 months of stabilization after troops return home? Don’t they realize that will increase the time that soldiers are overseas? You ain’t going home if there ain’t nobody replacing you.

JasonG on March 6, 2007 at 6:43 PM

JasonG, it doesn’t matter to them what they “realize”, this is all about how bad they can make the situation in Iraq. The worse they make it, the better their chances of winning… It’s cliche but true: The Democrats hate America and want troops to die to gain more power. The name of the game for Dems all through this administration has been make things go wrong and when you can’t make them appear bad through the media in order to win elections by default. These people are pure evil, and no I’m not kidding. Pelosi, Reid, Kerry, Edwards, Clinton… How can you describe their lies and politic playing and actions clearly directed at making us lose and dividing the nation to promise the enemy a victory in Washington as anything but evil?

RightWinged on March 6, 2007 at 7:13 PM

You ain’t going home if there ain’t nobody replacing you.

JasonG on March 6, 2007 at 6:43 PM

They would like nothing better than troop shortages to get the draft reinstated, and this kind of maneuvering increases the possibility of that happening. Never mind that the military doesn’t want it. You should read Colin Powell’s take on the draft in his bio – it’s blistering. But again, it doesn’t matter if it’s bad for the military if it’s good for the Dems.

Laura on March 6, 2007 at 7:16 PM

Can we question their patriotism yet?

RightWinged on March 6, 2007 at 6:32 PM

Yes, definately. The Donks have shown no interest in helping America win this war. The Dems only interest is in making sure that President Bush and the Republicans lose it.

If, when, America is victorious, these slimeballs will do one of two things: A. Revert back to their statements of 2002/3 and claim they were behing the whole endeavor from the beginning or B. Devalue the victory in some way to minimize the damage to their reputations for not supporting our effort towards victory.

Mallard T. Drake on March 6, 2007 at 7:21 PM

There is a ton of non military related pork in this bill also. Put in the hot button stuff and sneak in the pork barrel stuff for the folks back home and if you veto it turn on the whine machine. Somewhere, somehow we need to give the president, regardless of who it is, the line item veto.

LakeRuins on March 6, 2007 at 7:34 PM

Will al qaeda fighters march in the Dhimmicrats’ victory parade in Jan. ’09?

Tony737 on March 6, 2007 at 7:35 PM

No Shazam? I specifically requested a Shazam.

Theworldisnotenough on March 6, 2007 at 7:47 PM

Can we question their patriotism yet?

Yes.

I questioned it from day uno.

x95b10 on March 6, 2007 at 8:08 PM

Rw wrote:

The Dem 2008 Convention is going to be a ratings blockbuster, or at least the coverage of the protests/riots outside will be… it really will be 1968 all over again.

It’ll be in Denver too, that will be fun watching the protests while on the roller coasters in Elitch Gardens that is next to the Pepsi Center. Will they shut down Auraria Parkway?

pabo on March 6, 2007 at 9:43 PM

I like this article (not so much the author) on this topic.

The premise of any strategy, said Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, must be that “a lot of people were overshooting the runway on what one piece of legislation could accomplish.”

…meaning the slow bleed strategy – read about his new sly “slower bleed” tactic.

From the same article:

Among some of the staunchest congressional foes of the war, there is a growing awareness of the obstacles they face. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., an anti-war hero, sent an important message to his allies when he said Sunday on “Meet the Press” that “we don’t have the votes” to cut off funding for the war.

Entelechy on March 6, 2007 at 9:57 PM

Would it be too much to ask that the Democrats not play political games with the lives of our servicemembers?

I know, stupid question, because they “support the troops” the way cancer supports a host body.

ReubenJCogburn on March 7, 2007 at 1:30 AM

There is a ton of non military related pork in this bill also. Put in the hot button stuff and sneak in the pork barrel stuff for the folks back home and if you veto it turn on the whine machine. Somewhere, somehow we need to give the president, regardless of who it is, the line item veto.

LakeRuins on March 6, 2007 at 7:34 PM

There was a lot of pork at least as of a few days ago when I wrote about it.

I get the impression though the democrat party got caught, and decided to spin it.

Now, a few days later when they realize they can further play politics with WR, they changed their tune:

Democrats are looking for a way to force Bush to begin bringing troops home and spend some money instead on veterans’ health care.

“…ahhh, we support the troops, really. See, we just want to spend more money on their health care.”

What crap!

$1.2 billion in relief, unemployment, food and housing aid arising out of a freeze that destroyed citrus, avocado and other crops in California’s Central Valley.

Absolutely nothing to do with a soldiers health.

91Veteran on March 7, 2007 at 3:00 AM

Three points to be made here:

One, the comment by Bresnahan that: “it would end the Iraq war by default since there would be no more money for combat operations, and Republicans would punish the Democrats for years over it” is not necessarily true.

I am referring to the part that such would end the war, not the part that the Democrats would be punished for years (more like decades) over it. That latter part is certainly true.

Two, the Democrats WOULD COMPLETELY OWN THE WAR ON TERRORISM, including the Iraqi civil war and genocide that would surely follow, as well as any future terrorist strikes in the USA or the destruction of the State of Israel as a consequence of defunding the war.

Point 3. It must be noted that Congress cannot strip any powers under Article 2 of the Constitution away from the President via mere legislation. Such requires a Constitutional amendment. Further, Congress does NOT have the power to undeclare war once they have authorized the use of military force.

Curiously, Congress did in fact limit their own power to defund any war by passing the War Powers Act, specifically section 1544, which allows the President to continue the use of military power without Congressional approval if the country is under threat OR if the troops cannot be safely extracted.

In the event that Congress does not fund the fighting or the funding bill is vetoed, while the nation is still fighting, the War Powers Act confirms the ability of the President to continue waging war, implying that he can transfer necessary funds, temporarily, from other budget items, as long as the country under threat or the troops cannot be safely extracted.

Clearly, if the Democrats attempt to pull the rug out from under the troops and the President disagrees and refuses to cut and run, the nation will be in a Constitutional crisis unlike anything ever before seen. Congress’s only “check and balance” would be to impeach and remove the President, which they do not have the votes to do.

And contrary to the wet dreams of the nutroots, such a vote would doom the Democratic Party to destruction. They’d be out of power for generations to come, assuming that they still existed after that.

georgej on March 7, 2007 at 7:17 AM

Conservatives need to stop have counter-protests and start some protests.

How about some Victory Rallies across the country? Maybe during the Dem Convention?

faraway on March 7, 2007 at 11:53 AM

Ya know, I can understand politicizing pork and stuff like that, but we are talking about american lives here. What ever happened to doing what was best for american lives and not special interests?

csdeven on March 7, 2007 at 1:08 PM