Democrats Back Down On Iraq Timetable
As expected, Congressional Democrats have backed down from their demand that a timetable be included in the Iraq War supplemental.
President Bush and congressional leaders began negotiating a second war funding bill yesterday, with Democrats offering the first major concession: an agreement to drop their demand for a timeline to bring troops home from Iraq.
Democrats backed off after the House failed, on a vote of 222 to 203, to override the president’s veto of a $124 billion measure that would have required U.S. forces to begin withdrawing as early as July. But party leaders made it clear that the next bill will have to include language that influences war policy. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) outlined a second measure that would step up Iraqi accountability, “transition” the U.S. military role and show “a reasonable way to end this war.”
Presumably, the administration will agree to some minor concessions, likely the inclusion of vague “milestones,” to get a signable bill.
The reactions to this development are breaking down along predictable lines:
- Oliver Willis: “[T]he Democrats simply capitulated and gave the president everything he wanted.”
- Ed Morrissey: “After laughably failing to override the veto yesterday — a foregone conclusion for months — they now have to start over again, 90 days later, while the Pentagon has already run out of money for some of its operations.”
- Jonathan Singer: “[T]his is exactly the type of story the Democrats do not want to see on the issue of Iraq.”
- Dan Riehl: “If they are so all fired up to end the war, why not do what they are supposed to do? End the funding? Because they lack the votes and the political courage is why.”
- Barbara O’Brien: “I’m betting that if the legislation contains any mandatory consequences for not meeting a benchmark, Bush will balk.”
- Bruce McQuain: “Watch the Netroots gear up for this one folks.”
They’re all pretty much right, as it turns out.