Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Iraq War Bridge Fund to Nowhere

Yesterday, the Democrats in the House managed to pass an Iraq war funding bill with strings attached. The $50 billion emergency funding bill requires that the monies only be made available if the President establishes a clear timetable for bringing troops home from Iraq.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives defied a White House veto threat Wednesday and inserted timelines for an immediate troop withdrawal in a 50 billion dollar Iraq war funding bill.

The House voted 218 to 203 to pass the emergency war budget, calling for a pullback of most combat troops to start within 30 days, with a goal of completion by December 15, 2008.

President George W. Bush, who has thwarted every previous Democratic attempt to change his war policy, has repeatedly warned he will never accept mandated troop withdrawal timelines.

The Senate is expected to vote on the bill as early as tomorrow. It is doubtful that enough Republicans will side with the Democrats to provide the 60 votes needed to cut off debate and force the bill to a vote.

On Wednesday's session of the Newshour, Representatives John Larson (D-Conn) and Dallasite Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who looks more like Alfalfa from Our Gang every day, debated the bill and the criteria for redeploying troops from Iraq to Afghanistan.

Here are some excerpts:
REP. JOHN LARSON: ....It's unconscionable for us to continue this war in Iraq, a war of choice, where this administration continues only to want to run out the clock on its term in office, in a very self-serving way that I think does not serve the American citizens or our troops extraordinarily well.....

REP. JOHN HENSARLING: .....I agree with John. I want to bring the troops home, too. But I don't want to bring them home until they're able to achieve their mission and we give them an opportunity. [Which mission was that again? Eliminating WMD's, uh..establishing freedom, er... making progress....?]

I mean, your reporter had it right. The Democrats are yet again trying to attach strings to our warfighters....... [Warfighters. Don't you love the way Hensarling throws around the military jargon? Keep in mind, neither representative served in the military, but Hensarling was an Eagle Scout.]

And, listen, the Democrats have pointed out all the bad news that has happened in Iraq in the past. They ought to at least admit the good news. Violence is down precipitously. Deaths are down precipitously. People who used to fight the U.S. Army are now in concert with the U.S. Army against al-Qaida.

I mean, we have to remember the threat that we're up against. This is the greatest national security challenge of our time: radical Islam. I mean, these leaders of al-Qaida in Iraq have previously said that they want to kill four million of our citizens, two million of them children.

Now, listen, two of those children are mine. I'm a father of a 5-year-old and a 4-year-old. I take this very, very seriously. [Sure, now kids are important. Too bad you didn't feel that way when you voted against the SCHIP bill.]

There's more, including Hensarling trying to accuse the Democrats of fiscal irresponsibility. Sorry, but Bush has taken that issue off the table with his "taxcut and spend" policies of the last six years. Even the Cato Institute has thrown in the towel.

Larson does a good job of pointing out the obvious - that the Democrats have made considerable progress at cleaning up the fiscal mess made by Republicans, through pay-go and reforms on earmarks, among other things. Go read the rest here.

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