Clinton Joins Effort to 'Deauthorize' Iraq war
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) today signed on to legislation that would deauthorize the Iraq war, her strongest anti-war position in the four-and-a-half years since she joined an overwhelming majority of Democrats and Republicans in approving the war.
Clinton, who has been dogged by anti-war liberals over her previous support for the war, endorsed a plan offered by the chamber's loudest anti-war senator, Robert C. Byrd (D-W. Va.), that would end the original congressional authorization at the five-year anniversary of the historic vote approving the war.
"I believe that this fall is the time to review the Iraq war authorization and to have a full national debate so the people can be heard. I supported the Byrd amendment in 2002 that would have limited the original authorization to a year and I believe a full reconsideration of the terms and conditions of the authorization is overdue. This bill would require the president to do just that," Clinton said on the Senate floor. (Read Clinton's full statement.)
"The President must redefine the goals and submit his plan to achieve them to a thorough and open debate in the Congress and throughout the country. That is the American way," Byrd said on the floor.
The practical effect of the legislation, according to Clinton and Byrd, would be to force President Bush to come back to Congress with a new plan to get the war authorized. How that would work with about 140,000 troops on the ground, or however many are there in the fall at the point of deauthorization, is unclear.
Clinton and her aides have gone to great pains throughout the campaign to talk about her consistency on the war, supporting it at first and evolving into a critic of its operations. She has steadfastly refused to apologize for her October 2002 vote, which has angered many in the left-leaning netroots community.
The campaign was actively pushing the new legislation she co-authored with Byrd today. We'll see how the left wing of the party reacts.
The deauthorization approach to the war is distinctly different from supporting legislation that would cut off funds for combat missions, which Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) voted against in a non-binding resolution in mid-March. Some of their Democratic competitors, including Sens. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), opposed those non-binding resolutions, leaving open the option of supporting cutting off funds at some future date.
May 3, 2007; 6:17 PM ET
Categories: Iraq , Senate
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