March 23, 2007

The House, The Bill, And The Veto

Nancy Pelosi barely managed to eke out a victory on the supplemental spending bill for the Iraq war. The pork-laden bill passed with the bare minimum number of votes, and only after two Republicans crossed the aisle:

The House of Representatives today passed a $124 billion emergency spending bill that sets binding benchmarks for progress in Iraq, establishes tough readiness standards for deploying U.S. troops abroad and requires the withdrawal of American combat forces from Iraq by the end of August 2008.

The bill promptly drew a veto threat from President Bush.

After four hours of floor debate yesterday and today, the House approved the bill by a vote of 218 to 212. One lawmaker voted present and three did not vote. ...

In a largely party-line vote, 216 Democrats were joined by two Republicans in supporting the bill, while 198 Republicans and 14 Democrats opposed it. Voting with the Democratic majority were Republicans Walter B. Jones of North Carolina and Wayne T. Gilchrest of Maryland. Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) voted present. Reps. Jo Ann Davis (R-Va.), Paul E. Kanjorski (D-Pa.) and Melvin Watt (D-N.C.) did not vote.

Among the Democrats who opposed the bill were conservatives reluctant to set a timetable for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and liberals who want the troops out immediately. The 14 Democrats who voted no were: John Barrow (Ga.), Dan Boren (Okla.), Lincoln Davis (Tenn.), Dennis J. Kucinich (Ohio), Barbara Lee (Calif.), John Lewis (Ga.), Gene Taylor (Miss.), Jim Marshall (Ga.), Jim Matheson (Utah), Michael R. McNulty (N.Y.), Michael H. Michaud (Maine), Maxine Waters (Calif.), Diane Watson (Calif.) and Lynn Woolsey (Calif.).

This bill has absolutely no chance of passing into law. Pelosi could barely get it passed, having to bribe her caucus with pork and threaten some with committee assignment changes. Barbara Lee, who openly opposed the bill, reportedly had to find another ride home to California after Pelosi bumped Lee off her flight. George Bush made it clear that he would not waste much time before vetoing the bill if it reached his desk:

The purpose of the emergency war spending bill I requested was to provide our troops with vital funding. Instead, Democrats in the House, in an act of political theater, voted to substitute their judgment for that of our military commanders on the ground in Iraq. They set rigid restrictions that will require an army of lawyers to interpret. They set an arbitrary date for withdrawal without regard for conditions on the ground. And they tacked on billions for pet projects that have nothing to do with winning the war on terror. This bill has too much pork, too many conditions and an artificial timetable for withdrawal.

As I have made clear for weeks, I will veto it if it comes to my desk. And because the vote in the House was so close, it is clear that my veto would be sustained. Today's action in the House does only one thing: it delays the delivering of vital resources for our troops. A narrow majority has decided to take this course, just as General Petraeus and his troops are carrying out a new strategy to help the Iraqis secure their capital city.

Amid the real challenges in Iraq, we're beginning to see some signs of progress. Yet, to score political points, the Democratic majority in the House has shown it is willing to undermine the gains our troops are making on the ground.

Tough stuff. Bush sounded like a man itching for a fight, but he may not have to throw any punches. It's likely that the bill will never make it out of the Senate. The GOP will almost certainly filibuster the bill, and they might just defeat it without a filbuster if Joe Lieberman does the expected thing. Regardless, the bill will not make it to Bush's desk unless the sky falls in Iraq, and right now it looks like the Coalition has the momentum there.

So what happens next? The money for the war will start to run out next month. If Congress fails to fund the mission, the troops and their families will start feeling the bite -- and the Democrats will have to take responsibility for that. They may want to recall a somewhat similar standoff between Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton, one that didn't involve abandoning troops under fire in a war zone. Even a precipitous withdrawal would have to receive funding, and if the Democrats don't supply any at all, then they will have made a huge mistake for which they will pay dearly later.


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Comments (18)

Posted by Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 23, 2007 5:43 PM

I am glad Bush threatened to veto this. In fact considering that there will be another budget to vote on between now and 2008, how can they sit deadlines for the future.?

And since their job description does not include war planning how could they make any of this work anyway? How would they implement it?

It seems to me that political theatre is a good description. I think the Senate will make some changes and then Bush will sign. I hope so.

Posted by MarvinH [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 23, 2007 6:10 PM

I hope the Republicans in the Senate - force the passage of exactly what the President requested.

Okay, okay I can dream.

Realistically - the best we can hope for is a funding bill without timelines - which won't cost too much more pork.

Posted by Lightwave [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 23, 2007 7:55 PM

As I've mentioned before, the BACKSTAB (Bleed America's Courageous Kids as Surrender to Terrorists Abroad Bill) is the "Bridge Too Far" for the Democrats.

The voters will remember which party promised "the most ethical Congress ever" and then wasted America's troops, treasure, and time pursuing billions in sweetheart pork dollars, pursuing a vendetta to Get Bush!(tm), and voted to surrender millions of Iraqis to the tender mercies of Al Qaeda, Iran, and sectarian killing fields.

This is the party that believes that leaving Iraq will magically fix the Middle East and make the bad people vanish. Even worse, these are the people actively looking to undermine US power to the point where we have no choice but to surrender.

Ed is absolutely correct when he says that to advance the Democratic agenda, we must be defeated in Iraq.

It's far past time to start calling the Democrats what they are, and to take action to stop themby whatever means necessary.

Posted by conservative democrat [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 23, 2007 8:45 PM

Mr. Lightwave, elections have consequences. There no longer is a rubberstamp congress that meekly bows to every whim and whimper from GWB. Have you ever heard of oversight? Bush has made a mess in Iraq, now just like with little kids, the dems(grownups) will have to fix the mess. Staying and referreeing a civil war is NOT in our national security interests. Why do you say the dems must be stopped by whatever means necessary. That is highly inflammatory and uncalled for. The middle east is the middle east, its not our destiny to change it, thats ludicrous. Why be dependent on middle east oil when we can find other sources of energy. You will never change arab culture with a gun, we tried it for four years of hell, lightwave, give up the pipe dream. The neo-cons suckered us into this mess, why do you continue to believe them? Bush has been a complete failure, keep following him right off a cliff.

Posted by Brooklyn [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 23, 2007 8:52 PM

The Democrats will not be blamed for not funding OUR FINEST in harms way...


After watching the past 6 unethical years of MSM slant, Conservatives should be prepared for the spin.

The massive MSM deceit, will portray Iraq as lost, GW in denial and delusion, and the Dems doing what is best.

It is disgusting, but there is no evidence the American Public will be given an objective dose of reality regarding this attempt to undermine for self serving poltiical agendas.

Democrats have gone beyond the pale today...

The Party that fought against fighting the Iron Curtain, is the same Party that has led a bizarre effort to sabotage the USA in today's GWOT.

It is a sick history, when one considers the threats to Western Democracy and what it means for Freedom in the World.

Nancy Pelosi is a modern day Chamberlain, only lacking the naive mind, but filled with self serving intent.

Nancy 'Bribes With Pork' Pelosi is now an inspiration for any terrorist fighting against the Democracy growing in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc...

Posted by Chuck [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 23, 2007 9:14 PM

The White House had better get on their horse and start the PR campaign against this NOW. They shouldn't be congenial like they always are. Taking the high road has never worked when it comes to the Dems and the MSM.

President Bush needs to do a formal address and explain exactly why this bill would be DOA. Time-line for withdrawal, the pork, and all the arm bending politics. He then needs to explain to the American people how if the Dems keep playing these games, the military on the battlefield will start running out of money next month.

They need to get out in front of this before the Dems and MSM have a chance to frame it as the President's fault. The GOP thought they had Clinton over a barrel with the Govt Shutdown. Lets remember we can't assume we will win the PR war, even if we are in the right.

Posted by Monkei [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 23, 2007 9:47 PM

6 years of MSM spin .... the same MSM that hardly raised a gnat's hair in digging into facts about how this war even started ... yeah that MSM ... the same MSM that features FOX whose viewers still believe there is WMDs in Iraq, that Hussein was responsible for 911, its goes on and on ... FOX part of that MSM that has some of the worst informed viewers in the US ... I am sure you are one of them.

The war goes on ... if it remains just as it is this time next year the Dems will be BACKING into a REAL majority in both houses and into the WH no matter who runs. There is a reason the GOP is no longer in control ... its GWB and this war ... the public spoke in 2006 and they will speak again in 2008. Thank god all of us are not as uniformed as most FOX viewers.

GWB, he is the best democrat I know!

Posted by Mwalimu Daudi [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 23, 2007 10:13 PM

I see monkei has been marinating himself in Kool-Aide again. That might not be healthy, ya know.

The Democrat Congress - with its whopping 28% approval rating - is going to increase its numbers next year? The same Democrat Congress Pelosi had to bribe with pork? One wonders: What kind of Democrats will win next year in monkei's imagined electoral sweep - the true-blue believers willing to betray the Iraqi people for nothing or the ones who had to be bought?

Elections do indeed have consequences. For one thing, when you are in the majority you get held responsible for your actions. And when the majority acts like unstable bomb-throwing maniacs they usually end up back in the minority. Responsibility is such a b***h, and Democrats are in the process of learning that the hard way.

Posted by ERNurse [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 12:35 AM

I suspect that what the Dems are hoping for is the death of our troops by way of time expiration.

The existing budget is close to being dried up. The House is due to go on vacation in the next few weeks. Both events coincide.

I'll bet anyone here breakfast that the Dems will put up a POS bill, the President will veto it (and rightly so) due to all the pork the Dems have attached to the bill, and when our troops starve the Dems will blame Bush for not signing the bill that they were so generous to have submitted to him.

The bottom line is that one way or another, the Democrats will try as hard as they can to achieve the two things that bring them joy: power and dead American soldiers.

Not only do I question their patirotism: I formally accuse the Democrat Party of Treason by way of giving aid and comfort to an enemy in time of war. These bastards deserve to fry in hell for the next 10 thousand years for what they are trying to do to our service personnel.

Posted by ordi [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 12:38 AM

Yes Elections do indeed have consequences

G W Bush was reelected as President in 2004. He will Veto it if it makes it to his desk. He is THE commander in Chief NOT Nancy "Leader of the “Coalition of the Bribed” Pelosi or any of her minions.

Posted by patrick neid [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 7:21 AM

here's the final compromise that george "i don't know what a veto pen looks like" bush will ultimately sign.

two bills in one

1 congress gets all the pork

2 congress changes the date to december 31st 2008 and the next president will terminate the war.

i respect bush for his doggedness in the war but on fiscal matters he's pathetic--in fact he's an apparatchik, no different from ted kennedy etc. the difference is he deludes himself into thinking there is a difference. along with fellow repub politicians it's this reason alone that they lost congress. folks would rather have "honest crooks" than phonies pretending to protect the purse.

Posted by sam pender [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 7:42 AM

One might call it a non-binding supplemental

Posted by The Yell [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 8:25 AM

Bush has made a mess in Iraq, now just like with little kids, the dems(grownups) will have to fix the mess.

How is running away from the problem, some kind of fix?

I was watching an old Danny Kaye movie and his character saved an envelope rather than be "unpatriotic" and waste paper. Apparently working overtime for American defeat in wartime doesn't meet that gold standard.

Posted by Gary Gross [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 8:54 AM

As sickening as this vote was, what's more sickening is that the NY Times counts the vote as a win for the Democrats. They even go as far as saying "Ms. Pelosi and her team also proved something that could have major implications for 2008 - that they could manage, even harness, the tensions between the party’s left and the party’s establishment."

If that's their version of unity, they're in serious trouble.

Posted by Keemo [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 9:01 AM

A few articles that get it right...


You're right comrade; the more exposure the agenda driven NYT gets, the sooner we will see this Socialist rag paper die the death it so richly deserves.

Posted by sam pender [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 24, 2007 10:35 AM

Thing is, this latest effort to defund is just like all the earlier anti-war legislation. It makes the politicians feel like they're doing something-particularly like they can show their base that they're doing doing something, but non-binding resolutions, and legislation that will not pass senate or survive a veto is simply ineffectual. It's classic modern Democrat: all sizzle no steak. All it does is provide photo ops.

They're foolish if they think W will cave or that he won't keep troops in theatre without funds. Gates has already hinted at what's going to happen after April 15....the troops don't get paid, their families don't get paid, and benefits get cut off. Given the choice between ammo and pay, ammo wins out. And when millions of troops go without pay because of Congressional grandstanding, and when tens of millions of Americans go without benefits because of Congressional photo ops designed to fuel an anti-war base...the ship's gonna hit the fan. The only thing worse will be when US soldiers die because they ran out of ammo.

Congress controls the power of the purse, but it's not a valve or a noose. It's on or it's off. There is no in between.

If Speaker Pelosi thinks it's rough having Code Pink protest outside her office and her home, wait until PO'd Marines, vets, and families of those same come a protesting with signs that say, "GIVE US OUR PAY!" Methinks she's in for a much rougher visit than the codepinkerdoodles.

Hey, Rep thought that mother of a Marine in the hall was a far nut kook? Wait until the families of those at Walter Reed come beating on your door because their thread of pay and benefits has been cut by you.

Oh, and the next time a Dem leader wants to go to's gonna be a hoot to see the reaction they get from unpaid troops.

Wanna really make friends? Don't payoff the spinach farmers and sugarbeets growers of America. They're not gonna be anywhere near as important as all of those college students who can't graduate in May because their GI Bill funding was cut in April.

If Dems go to the mat and refuse to give W a supplemental he can sign (sans pork and sans timelines), there will be
3 million troops without pay,
12 million immediate family members dependent on those missing paychecks
120 million friends of those family members who see their friends penniless because of Dem inaction
25,000 wounded combat vets who are abused immediately by Dems cutting funds
10s of millions of GI bill college students who can't graduate
10s of millions of veterans from WWII forward who cannot get their benefits

and so forth

the power of the purse is a big deal

If they don't have the nerve to pass a binding resolution how are they gonna face down that kind of press?

I wonder what Speaker Pelosi's reaction will be when she sees what its like to be burned in effigy for the first time?

I wonder if Rep Murtha needs any vet benefits from his time in the USMC, and how he's gonna feel when those are cut.

Gonna be an interesting 3 wks

(oh, and then there's Iran on the side too)

Posted by SwabJockey05 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 7:12 AM

So does the fact that Republicrats voted for it make this a "bi-partisan" effort?

Hope all you Repubs are proud.

Posted by sam pender [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 25, 2007 7:35 AM

"So does the fact that Republicrats voted for it make this a "bi-partisan" effort?
Hope all you Repubs are proud."

Yeah right, legions of Republicans voted for the supplemental


partisan foolishness sees victory in passing a bill that cannot possibly succed in ending the war, cannot possibly become law, and can only do one thing-hinder the war and directly hurt the soldiers as the Pentagon's gonna cut their pay before it cuts their ammo. Brilliant move.

Democrats should be proud-well, they should have some non-binding pride like when they passed the anti-surge non-binding resolution. That did OHSOMUCH good.