Senate's Reid threatens Iraq funds cutoff
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today he will try to cut off funding for the Iraq war if President Bush rejects Congress' proposal...
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today he will try to cut off funding for the Iraq war if President Bush rejects Congress' proposal to set a deadline for ending combat.
The move is likely to intensify the Democrats' rift with the administration, which already contends Democrats are putting troops at risk by setting deadlines.
"It's time the self-appointed strategists on Capitol Hill understood a very simple concept: You cannot win a war if you tell the enemy you're going to quit," Vice President Dick Cheney said today at fundraising luncheon for Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.
In recent weeks, the House and Senate voted separately to finance the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but set an end date for combat in Iraq. The House proposal orders all combat troops as of Aug. 31, 2008, whereas the Senate orders some troops to leave right away with the nonbinding goal of ending combat by March 31, 2008.
The House and Senate are working on a final proposal that can be sent to the president by the end of the month.
Mindful that they hold a shaky majority in Congress and that neither chamber has enough votes to override a presidential veto, Democrats are already thinking about the next step after Bush rejects their legislation.
Reid said today that if that happens, he will join forces with Sen. Russ Feingold, one of the party's most liberal members who has long called to end the war by denying funding for it. Reid and others have previously been reluctant to propose cutting funding out of fear it would leave troops in the lurch.
"Congress has a responsibility to end a war that is opposed by the American people and is undermining our national security," Feingold, D-Wis., said.
Reid said today he was willing to take the tougher tack in light of Bush's refusal to begin pulling out troops.
"If the president vetoes the supplemental appropriations bill and continues to resist changing course in Iraq, I will work to ensure this legislation receives a vote in the Senate in the next work period," Reid said in a statement.
The White House and congressional Democrats had promised in January to work together when Democrats took over control of Congress. Since then, however, the two sides have found little agreement when it comes to the war. They traded barbs over the weekend and on today, when the White House said Democrats were denying the military what it needed to do its job.
"It appears they're still content to work on a bill that does not have serious plans to fund troops or make Iraq, America and the world more secure, but rather attempts at forcing us into giving up in Iraq without regard to the consequences of failure," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.
Reid's proposal is unlikely to pass. But Democrats say they believe with each passing week — as the violence in Iraq continues and voters grow increasingly tired of the war — they pick up additional support.
The Senate last week passed its anti-war proposal by a 50-48 vote after winning support from Sens. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who just two weeks prior had opposed a similar measure.
Reid spokesman Jim Manley said if legislation to cut off funding for the war fails, Reid will try again with the hopes of getting new supporters. "It is the next in a series of steps to try to ratchet up the pressure to try to get the administration to change its policies," he said.
The bill to cut off funds for the war would likely be introduced as standalone legislation and would not be tied to the supplemental spending bill, Manley said.
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.
Furniture & home furnishings
POST A FREE LISTING