After dealing with the fallout from opponents of the war in Iraq over passing an unrestricted funding bill this spring, the Democratic leadership in Congress took a tougher stance on the second round. They stated that if congressional Republicans and Bush would not accept funding with a timeline for withdrawal of US troops, then they would not get any funding at all. After spending several weeks trying to put together a budget that would pass the House and Senate, the leadership has again retreated on its requirement that the funding for Iraq include a timeline for withdrawal:
The Senate is expected to amend the omnibus bill this week to provide up to $70 billion in war funding, including money for operations in Iraq. The House would likely pass the bill with Iraq funding over the objections of scores of Democrats.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., kept her pledge not to propose any more Iraq funding this year, a promise she made to liberal caucus members last month. She has also promised to vote against an omnibus bill that contains money for Iraq.
Senate Democrats and Republicans alike acknowledge that Iraq war funding will have to be added. President Bush has said he will not sign an omnibus that lacks war funding, a threat reiterated Monday by Sean Kevelighan, a spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget.
Bush has asked for $196.4 billion in war funding for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. Congress will have to take up another supplemental request sometime next year.
The constant back and forth between holding the Bush administration accountable and backing down at the last minute makes it increasingly difficult for opponents of the war to have leverage in Congress, and emboldens the Bush administration. Click here to call your senators and urge them to vote against any amendment that adds funding for the war in Iraq.