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Democratic Leadership Has Failed the Country

FutureGM

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AP-

WASHINGTON - President Bush said he supports a $120 billion Iraq war spending bill on track to to pass Congress Thursday, ending weeks of wrangling with congressional Democrats on how long U.S. troops should stay.

The bill funds the war through September as Bush wanted and does not set a date for troop withdrawals. In exchange for dropping restrictions on the military, Bush agreed to some $17 billion in spending added by Democrats to fund domestic and military-related projects.

"By voting for this bill, members of both parties can show our troops and the Iraqis and the enemy that our country will support our service men and women in harm's way," Bush said in a Rose Garden news conference.

Democrats said they were disappointed with the deal.

"I hate this agreement," said Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., chairman of the Appropriations Committee.

Obey said the deal was the best that Democrats could do manage because "the White House is in a cloud somewhere in terms of understanding the realities in Iraq."

The bill includes the nearly $100 billion that President Bush requested for military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as billions in domestic spending, including $6.4 billion in hurricane relief and $3 billion in agricultural assistance.

Republicans were unhappy about the added domestic spending, but said they were relieved the final measure did not attempt to set a timetable on the war.

"We cannot and will not abandon the Iraqis to be butchered by these terrorists in their midst," said Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif. "And we cannot and will not abandon our mission just as real progress is starting to be made."

While the measure does not include a timetable on the war, it does threaten to withhold U.S. aid dollars for Iraq if Baghdad fails to make progress on political and security reforms. The president, however, could waive that restriction.

Bush said Iraq's ability to meet the benchmarks outlined in the bill would be difficult.

"It's going to be hard work for this young government," he said. "After all, the Iraqis are recovering from decades of brutal dictatorship."

The hefty spending bill has become a lightning rod for political attacks on Bush and his handling of the deeply unpopular war, which has killed more than 3,400 U.S. troops and cost more than $300 billion. But it also has exposed a sharp divide among Democrats on how far Congress should go to end the war.

Democratic presidential contenders on Capitol Hill are vying for the anti-war vote, but at the same time do not want to appear as though they are turning their backs on the military.

"I believe as long as we have troops in the front line, we're going to have to protect them," said Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del. "We're going to have to fund them."

Biden was alone among the potential Democratic candidates in immediately pledging his support for the bill.

Two front-runners, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois, declined to say how they intended to vote on the measure.

Challengers Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio said they would oppose the measure because in their view it issued a blank check to President Bush on the Iraq war.

"Half-measures and equivocations are not going to change our course in Iraq," Dodd said in a statement. "If we are serious about ending the war, Congress must stand up to this president's failed policy now - with clarity and conviction."

Democratic leaders planned multiple votes in the House on Thursday to ensure the measure would ultimately pass because of disagreements among members on elements of the bill. One vote was to be on war funding, while another would be to approve the extra money for domestic and military-related projects.

While liberal Democrats were expected to vote against the war funds measure, GOP members were expected to make up for the losses. On the added spending, Democrats likely were to be unified in their support for the measure, overcoming GOP objections.

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This is absolutely the wrong thing for the Congress to be doing. They might as well have handed the President yet another blank check for this pointless war, because the 'benchmarks' can all be waived by the President at his pleasure. That makes even including them a waste of time.

Even though over 70% of the public opposes our soldiers remaining in Iraq, the Democrats were unwilling to take responsibility for this war. They chose their political careers over the lives of the troops that will certainly perish in the next several months until the funding debate comes up again.

I can tell you that any respect I had for the Senate Majority Leader is gone, and I am losing respect for Nancy Pelosi, after what had seemed like a strong beginning to her tenure as House Speaker.

I really hope that this doesn't pass through Congress. It would have been a far better move for the Democrats to continue to send the same funding bill to the President with the withdrawal timelines still intact, and as he continues to veto it, show who REALLY doesn't support the troops. Unfortunately they gave in to Bush's wishes, and have damaged their reputation badly in the process.
 

prinmemito

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It's sad the Democrats are not taking a harder stance.

However, if the Democrats required withdrawal of troops and the whole Middle East explodes as a result (civil war in Iraq, Saudi Arabia coming in to defend the Sunnis, the Iranians coming in to defend the Shiites, Turkey coming in to make sure the Kurds don't declare their own country) the Democrats will be blamed. They want to avoid that.
 

FutureGM

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It's sad the Democrats are not taking a harder stance.

However, if the Democrats required withdrawal of troops and the whole Middle East explodes as a result (civil war in Iraq, Saudi Arabia coming in to defend the Sunnis, the Iranians coming in to defend the Shiites, Turkey coming in to make sure the Kurds don't declare their own country) the Democrats will be blamed. They want to avoid that.
I think that's one fear. However, I believe their biggest fear is being attacked as weak on terrorism or defense by the Republicans' media machine, which is far better than anything the DNC has at their disposal. But essentially, they are still putting politics ahead of lives, which is not something that I would ever condone or defend. Their are LIVES at stake here, and they are mostly concerned about their careers. That's just plain wrong.
 
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You ignore the reality of this issue. The intelligent leaders of the democratic party realize that an all or nothing bill has the potential to seriously backfire, not on thier political careers, but for our troops or the nation. This isn't a sell-out by them its a cautious approach. Remember they'll have another chance in setting the budget next time, which will give them more time to see how this bill proceeds. I disagree with the waivable benchmarks, they should have been solid, although the dems will look like they made the right choice down the line when the time comes for assessing if a benchmark was met.
In a heavily split nation as it is right now, neither side has a mandate (as can be seen by how close the 04 and 06 elections were), so the best move is to make a compromise. I don't support the war but i have a new found respect for pelosi and her prgamatism.
 

FutureGM

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The 2006 Election wasn't really close....Democrats won the vast majority of Congressional and Gubnatorial elections...

I'm not convinced that a withdrawal would backfire against our soldiers. I believe it might even lower violence somewhat, and have the potential to give the Iraqi government the security that they finally need in order to solve some of their many problems.
 
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The 2006 Election wasn't really close....Democrats won the vast majority of Congressional and Gubnatorial elections...

I'm not convinced that a withdrawal would backfire against our soldiers. I believe it might even lower violence somewhat, and have the potential to give the Iraqi government the security that they finally need in order to solve some of their many problems.

Just like in 02 and 04 the republicans won most seats as well. But all of them were close bc all the changes in seats or open seats where won by a few percentage point. So 2006 was extremely close. Especially TN, VA, and a few other senatorial seats.

And your not convinced it would be negative for our soldiers, but apparently the majority of the congress disagrees with your assessment.
 

FutureGM

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And your not convinced it would be negative for our soldiers, but apparently the majority of the congress disagrees with your assessment.
True, however, they have jobs at stake...and I don't.
 
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And your not convinced it would be negative for our soldiers, but apparently the majority of the congress disagrees with your assessment.
True, however, they have jobs at stake...and I don't.

Finally we can agree on something.
 

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