Tuesday, May 01, 2007

bush vetoes war spending bill over timetable

During the attack ads next year running up to the election, the conservatives will no longer be able to use their favorite line: "The Democrats don't have a plan."

Why not? Because the Democrats do have a plan. And they put it before Congress in the form of the 2007 U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act. This legislation, having passed both the House (218-208) and Senate (51-46), approved $124 billion in funding for the Iraq war, but also gave a timetable for withdrawal.

Today, President Bush vetoed the bill.

So the Democrats put forth a comprehensive plan on how to clean up the president's mess, but he rejected it. What more can the Democrats do at this point? Yes, the Democrats have a majority in both houses of Congress, but the majority isn't large enough to override the president's veto unless the bill garners more bipartisan support. An attempt to override has been scheduled for tomorrow in the House of Representatives.

If the president will remain immovably stubborn on this costly issue, there is nothing else that the Democrats can do besides utilize the power of the purse. It will take time to work out the best approach: should the Democrats immediately cut funding, refusing to reintroduce legislation that would re-authorize the president the use of that same $124 billion that he vetoed today? Or will they take a more subtle route? Or, will they force the Republicans to face the consequences of their mistakes as a Democratic president is ushered into office in 2008?

Whatever happens in the coming months, keep in mind that President Bush started this unpopular war in Iraq, and today in the Oval Office he used a red stamp that spits in the face of the majority of Americans. At the same time, he assured us that our troops will face the continued chaos and danger of the battlefield indefinitely. No wonder his approval rating is only 28%.

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