Friday, May 18, 2007

Bush, Congress hit impasse on war funding


This is getting a bit silly.

The White House and Congress failed to strike a deal Friday after exchanging competing offers on an Iraq war spending bill that Democrats said should set a date for U.S. troops to leave....

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said they offered to grant Bush the authority to waive the deadlines. They said they also suggested they would drop billions of dollars in proposed domestic spending that Bush opposed, in exchange for his acceptance of identifying a withdrawal date.

That, by the way, is the Democrats making the obvious concession that they denied they were making a week or so ago.

Bush, for his part, flat refused anything that had deadlines for withdrawal, even if he could waive them. He also indicated he would consider benchmarks for the Iraqi government that would include negative consequences if the Iraqis failed to meet them -- although the details on that score were very vague.

In general, I'm with Bush on this one. The timetables need to be dropped for the time being to give the surge time to work. And the domestic funding has no business being used as a bargaining chip: it shouldn't have been in the bill in the first place.

It's May 18, people; time to stop playing games. The Democrats need to pass (and Bush needs to sign) a bill that does the following:

1. Contains no timetables;

2. Funds the war only through September, at which time the state of the surge and Iraqi political compliance can be assessed;

3. Contains hard benchmarks for the Iraqi government to hit, with generous support if they hit them and negative consequences if they don't.

Reopen this fight when there's meaningful data to fight about.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sean,
your comments on what should be done dont sound balanced ....
1. so no consequences for an administration that has bungled so much for so long.?
2. And Consequences for the Iraqi govt. that is under seize from all sides. what if these hardline consequences will act as a tipping point resulting in an all out civil war among legislators.? No I dont mean the real war kind but every side digging in and not taking responsibility. what if the government falls like that and predictably the president and his cronies blame the democrats for pushing it hard. ?
A new govt. comes in and then more talk of a "fresh" start and then the ball is punted to the next president ?
3. The benchmarks also include the legislation on oil revenues being pushed . can you imagine the outrage that will come from the rest of the world about how the law was designed to grab all the oil from iraq for the companies that cheney represents or has represented. All this without adequate debate if they run of out time pass the law in a hurry?
GK

5/21/2007 1:06 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

GK,

1. The administration is already dealing with such consequences. They have lost all credibility and have one more chance (the surge) to prove they can pull this thing out. If they can't, we're done.

2. While I appreciate the problems besetting the Iraqi government, the fact remains that they are part of the problem thanks to tolerating/abetting corruption, sectarian violence and the like. I'm not expecting miracles, but I do expect them to start taking responsibility and being part of the solution. If the government can't do that and falls, so what? That happens in parliamentary systems all the time. The new government would likely be made up of many of the same faces as the old one, and be held to the same standards.

3. The revenue-sharing law is mostly about splitting oil revenue equitably among the Shia, Sunnis and Kurds. It doesn't stipulate that contracts must go to particular foreign companies.

5/21/2007 1:51 PM  

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