Thursday, March 29, 2007

Congress Tells Bush, "Oh yeah?"

Senate passes war spending bill with withdrawal deadline:
Senate Democrats ignored a veto threat and pushed through a bill Thursday requiring President Bush to start withdrawing troops from "the civil war in Iraq," dealing a rare, sharp rebuke to a wartime commander in chief.

In a mostly party line 51-47 vote, the Senate signed off on a bill providing $122 billion to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also orders Bush to begin withdrawing troops within 120 days of passage while setting a nonbinding goal of ending combat operations by March 31, 2008.
Personally, I have a number of issues with the House bill, which are addressed best by Tim Carpenter, Director of Progressive Democrats of America, "The bad news is that the House bill funds Bush's troop surge and won't bring our troops home until a Sept 1, 2008 "deadline" – with provisions allowing troops to stay in Iraq beyond that on vaguely-defined "training" or "anti-terrorism" missions. (That's why a group of progressive Congress members – including Barbara Lee, Lynn Woolsey, Maxine Waters, Diane Watson, John Lewis and Dennis Kucinich – felt the need to stand firm and vote no.)

"More bad news is the disunity stirred up among antiwar progressives in Congress by the House leadership's arm-twisting and the intervention of in support of the leadership's arm-twisting."

However, much as I would have preferred that this bill had gotten it right the first time, its passage by the House, with the Senate signing off on it, is a good step. Of course Bush is going to veto it - there's no chance at this stage of the game that he would allow it to go through. But let's hope that progressive Congress members, to quote Representative Pete Stark, "[We] can write a better bill."

Y'all get started on that better bill writing, ya hear?

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