Thursday, September 15, 2005

House Republicans Protect Bush On Iraq Lies

California Representative Barbara Lee's House resolution calling for full disclosure of communications between the Bush administration and Great Britain leading up to the Iraq war, died in committee yesterday.

Outnumbered by Republicans on the House International Relations Committee, Democrats could not get the votes to move H.R. 375 forward, falling one vote short, 22-21. It was a straight party-line vote, with the notable exception of Republican Jim Leach of Iowa, who voted with the Democrats.

If Republicans had allowed Lee's measure – which ended up with 83 congressional cosponsors – to pass, it would have compelled the White House and the State Department to disclose evidence that would likely have substantiated the Downing Street Memos and possibly opened the door to impeachment proceedings against Bush.

"The U.S. is currently at war in Iraq under an authority conferred to President Bush by the U.S. Congress," Lee said in a news release this week. "It is not only Congress' prerogative, it is our responsibility to make sure that the authority to use force was not granted under circumstances that were deliberately misleading."

Republican Committee Chairman Henry Hyde, ran interference for the White House, saying that such investigations have already been done – this is not true -- and claiming that Lee's resolution would cripple the president's ability to execute foreign policy and undermine efforts to fight terrorism and build democracy in the Middle East.

Democratic Representative Tom Lantos of California disagreed. With public support for the war shaky, "the refusal of the executive branch to do all it can to put these questions to rest only further undermines support," Lantos said . "This bill asserts an appropriate role for the Congress in the foreign policy process, and it provides the executive branch with the opportunity to put to rest doubts about its actions in taking our nation to war."

More than 130 members of Congress have written to President Bush and 575,000 people signed petitions this summer demanding that the White House answer questions raised by the Downing Street Memos.

Republicans sought to further undermine U.S. security in favor of protecting the Bush administration by killing two other measures introduced by Democrats. The GOP voted 23-22 against a resolution similar to Lee's, introduced by Representative Maurice Hinchey of New York and killed a resolution by New Jersey Congressman Rush Holt that would have required the State Department to give Congress all documents on the illegal disclosure of the identity and CIA employment of Valerie Plame.

And the band played on...