(10 am – promoted by ek hornbeck)
I suppose this isn’t a shock to anyone, but once again the House Democrats are ignoring their Constitutional power of the purse and are working on funding the Iraq occupation well into 2009. Led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the House Democrats work on huge Iraq money bill according to a story in the San Francisco Chronicle.
House Democratic leaders are putting together the largest Iraq war spending bill yet, a measure that is expected to fund the war through the end of the Bush presidency and for nearly six months into the next president’s term.
Neither the Bush administration nor Congress has been forthright with Americans about the true costs of the Iraq invasion and occupation. Now, once again the House Democrats are betraying the voters who put them into power in 2006 as they maneuver to fund the Iraq occupation once again to a tune of $108 billion, plus $70 billion of “breathing room” funding for the next president.
The House Democrats know they’ve selling us out once again.
“It’s going to be a tough sell to convince people in my district that funding the war for six months into the new president’s term is the way to end the war,” said Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, a leader of the Out of Iraq Caucus who plans to oppose the funding. “It sounds like we are paying for something we don’t want.”
Not anymore. After 16 months of this, the House Democrats have convinced me that they actually want the war. Sure, I used to believe that the House Democrats would hold a strong budgetary line against funding the Iraq occupation and refocus our nation’s military’s mission on fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan and the tribal border region with Pakistan, but not anymore. Now, according to the Chronicle getting funding for Iraq occupation is “shaping up as a key test for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.” Pelosi is planning to capitulate once again to Mr. Bush, but try to get him to blink on her domestic agenda.
Pelosi is plotting a “guns-for-butter” strategy to try to force Mr. Bush to accept some new domestic spending in exchange for the money he needs to fight the war. The speaker is floating a proposal to extend unemployment benefits for 13 weeks for those whose benefits have run out. The package also could include a new GI Bill benefit to help veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan pay for college.
Of course, the United States will be forced to borrow more money to pay for the occupation. Instead of forcing Mr. Bush to raise taxes to pay for his wars, Pelosi is willing to lead the country further into debt and weakening. A good way to provide for unemployment benefits and improved GI benefits would be to divert the money we’re wasting on the occupation of Iraq, redeploy the troops, and then funnel that money into funding the Democrat’s domestic agenda. Instead, she’s going to pull another “minimum wage hike” tactic while giving Mr. Bush what he wants for the Iraq occupation. Mr. Bush won’t even pay for the war fully through this spending bill. He has promised to veto any spending that goes over his demand for $108 billion dollars.
Some of the House Democrats do not agree with Pelosi’s “gun-for-butter” tactic. Along with Rep. Woolsey, Democratic Reps. Maxine Waters and Barbara Lee have asked the speaker to “keep the votes on war spending and domestic spending separate.” But, no word from the Speaker if she’ll keep the spending measures apart.
Pelosi’s line is to keep blaming Mr. Bush for not ending the war, when, in fact, she has the Constitutional power to cut the occupation’s funding. Pelosi insists:
“It didn’t happen because we had hoped that the president would listen to the will of the people and at least be willing to compromise on … how the war is conducted and some timetable for redeployment of our troops.”
The conservative Democrats in the House are afraid of looking weak if they cut the funding. But, by not standing up to Mr. Bush, the Democrats are proving themselves weaker than a lame duck president who is over 70% disapproval in public opinion polls. How many more American soldiers need to die in Iraq to make the Democrats seem strong?