Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Iraq Spending Bill Decided By Senate And House

The U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives on Monday reconciled the differences in their Iraq supplemental funding measures and have agreed to send to George W. Bush a unified bill that requires the first combat troops to be withdrawn from Iraq by October, with a mandate that all forces be removed by April of 2008.

"The agreement reached between the House and the Senate rejects the President's failed policies in Iraq and his open-ended commitment to keep American troops there indefinitely and forges a new direction for a responsible end to the war," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in a joint statement with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

"If the President follows through on his veto threat, he will be the one who has failed to provide our troops and our veterans with the resources they need and it will be the President who has rejected the benchmarks he announced in January to measure success in Iraq. The bill ensures our troops are combat-ready before they are deployed to Iraq, provides our troops the resources and health care they deserve in Iraq and here at home, and responsibly winds down this war."

The legislation should make it entirely through both houses of Congress by the end of this week and should appear on Bush's desk the following week, where it will certainly be vetoed.

It is unclear whether or not Reid and Pelosi will even attempt votes to override the Bush veto, given the large number of rubber-stamp Republicans who will be unlikely to go against anything ordered by the White House, but it is my hope that votes will be held in both chambers to get every single Republican on the record as sticking with Bush's failed Iraq policy to the bitter end.

"An overwhelming majority of Americans, bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress, military experts and the Iraq Study Group believe that a responsible end to the war best advances our national security needs," said Reid and Pelosi in their statement. "It is now up to the President to make a decision: continue to stay his failed course or join us to give our troops a strategy for success."