Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Democrats Mulling Strategic Shift on Iraq

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - As Capitol Briefing has noted, the primary theme of this year's House Democratic retreat was the economy, not Iraq. That focus continued this morning, as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke addressed lawmakers and party leaders pounced on a disappointing new jobs report.

But there has been some discussion of Iraq, and a new debate is developing within the Democratic Caucus over how best to proceed on war policy for the rest of the year.

Speaking to reporters here Thursday, both House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) made comments suggesting they believed the party should move away from last year's strategy of attaching their efforts to force Iraq troop withdrawal onto funding bills for the war.

Instead, the two issues -- funding and withdrawal language -- could move separately, preventing opponents from accusing Democrats of abandoning or starving the military.

"The problem with -- in my opinion, this is my view, speaking for Steny Hoyer -- always attaching [withdrawal language] to funding issues ... [is] that is subject on both sides of the Capitol to concerns about supporting the troops," Hoyer said.

"If you pass and debate policy changes separate and apart from funding support, a) I think we could pass that through the House, and b) I would hope that the Senate would have an extensive debate on that."

Clyburn showed a similar desire to de-link the two issues.

"People seem to feel that any vote for Iraq spending is an expression of support for Iraq policy," he said. "That's just absolutely not true at all."

Asked today whether she agreed with Hoyer and Clyburn on the importance of separating the issues of Iraq funding and withdrawal, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) didn't quite come down on either side.

"I think that it is very important for us to have serious legislation on policy that relates to Iraq. We'll talk to the Caucus to see what approach [to take]. ... We'll see what the Caucus is willing to do as far as bifurcation," Pelosi said.

At the same time, Roll Call reports (subscription required) that Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), a leading antiwar voice, is preparing new legislation that would curtail Iraq funding and would mandate the gradual withdrawal of troops over the course of the year. The measure would be attached to the next military supplemental bill, for which the Pentagon is requesting $70 billion.

There has always been a significant split among Congressional Democrats over how hard to push on Iraq. Some in the party, fueled by grassroots support, want Congress to simply stop funding the war entirely, believing that's the only way to force an end to the war.

Other Democrats, including Hoyer, want to hasten an end to the war but believe a cut-off of funding would be disastrous for both the military and for the party's standing with the public.

In 2007, Democrats tried to use various Iraq funding bills as the vehicles for their policy aims. It didn't work. There were never enough Republican votes to move such measures through Congress or to override a presidential veto if a bill did get through. At the end of the year, Democrats held out so long on Iraq funding that they ended up submarining their entire appropriations strategy, and they lost the chance to get their desired domestic funding increases in the process.

So what's next? The one benefit to using spending bills to change Iraq policy was that it forced those issues onto the table -- spending bills have to move, one way or another. A standalone Iraq bill not tied to funding might get through the House, but it would face a difficult 60-vote hurdle in the Senate and, again, a powerful veto pen.

But Democrats have tried coupling the issues together, and that failed, giving even vulnerable Republicans an easy reason to vote against the bills while opening the majority up to attacks from the GOP.

The majority could try to tie Iraq policy changes to consideration of a Status of Forces Agreement, which would set out the long-term relationship between the Iraqi government and the U.S. military. So far, the Bush administration has suggested such an agreement needn't be ratified by Congress. Democrats strongly disagree.

Above all, Democratic leaders don't want a repeat of last year. They may well decide to follow Hoyer's advice and shift strategy. But first they'll have to convince their own members.

By Ben Pershing  |  February 1, 2008; 2:40 PM ET
Categories:  Agenda , Dem. Leaders , Iraq  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: House Democrats Trim Agenda
Next: Budget Day on Capitol Hill

Comments

she say it part of her stum and sa it all th time. its not new. i have seen 6 of the 17 debates, they stutering by now, but i saw Michelle Obamam last night on CSPAN. Sghe won the debate last night. he has a Coretta.

Posted by: rawdawgbuffalo | February 1, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Democrats' claims that they really support the troops by mandating surrender and cutting their funding requires a willing suspension of disbelief, especially now that we are winning the war.

Posted by: Matt | February 2, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the democratic party does need to change the debate about Iraq.

I'd enthusiastically support identifying those blue dogs in congress who haven't gotten the message that this war was, is, and will forever be, a tragic mistake of global proportions and focus on removing those "democrats" from office.

And anyone who believes that we are winning this war would believe that supporting a dictator will promote democracy.

And war is peace.

Steny Hoyer and his politicos ARE the problem.

Posted by: TheFrog | February 3, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

We are not " winning' any war in Iraq, any more than the russians won in Afghanistan. It is only a question of time and we will leave.
We are fighting and losing wars on poverty; war on illiteracy;war on drugs. We are too war-like. We like to think we Americans are nice,friendly people, who want peace! But, we don't play the part. We are, in fact, a very warlike nation!We need to face these facts.
And,we Americans love dictators; Pinochet;Fujimora;Musharrif;(at one time, Saddam Hussein himself);murderous Roberto Salazar,who chased the El Salvadoreans to the US where they formed the deadly MS 13; Shah of Iran,argentinian death squads;the list goes on and on.
Maybe Caeser Chavez was on to something when he said America was like a blind, dumb giant, stumbling around the globe wreaking havoc wherever we go.
We should undergo a thorough vetting of our foreign policy, to include the role of the CIA, so as to stop being the bully of the world.

Posted by: thopaine | February 3, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats just do not get it!! Part of the discontentment in the heartland was the lack of a winning strategy. Americans want to win the war in Iraq (and we are winning). Policitcal progress is being made among the Iraqi as well.

For the Democrats to continue to insist the opposite opens them up for the charge that they oppose it only for their political gain, not for the interests of the country. One can begin to legitimately speculate on their patriotism. I grew up in the 1960's. The Democrats in Congress abandoned South Vietnam and Cambodia when they cut off the funding. The pictures of the chaos at the US embassay in Saigon was chilling; the denial of the cruelty of the Pol Pot regime by Democrats was equally stunning. The Democratic Party needs to find a Scope Jackson in their party or they will never be taken seriously when it comes to the safety and security of the country.

Posted by: Hunter | February 4, 2008 1:00 AM | Report abuse

Great minds can argue whether progress in Iraq should be measured in millimeters or fractions of an inch. What cannot be denied is the human toll. The Bush-Cheney war has directly killed more Americans than the 9/11 terrorists, and many many times that in Iraqi's (who, it should not be forgotten, were not involved in 9/11). I served 2 tours flying helicopters in Vietnam; awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Soldiers Medal and 3 Air Medals for Valor. Though not physically scarred, I felt lucky to have escaped the nightmares and cold sweats, and death thoughts after two decades. You know many of my comrades who haven't coped as well. They make up the majority of the homeless you push from sidewalk to park to shelters. We are now sending our soldiers for 3 and 4 and more tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The damage to this generation of American patriots is horrendous, ongoing, and needless. When this war started, only one Republican in a leadership role in Congress or the White House had ever served this country in war. General Powell, knowing first hand the costs and odds of success, counseled against it. There is one lesson of Vietnam that the Democrats including the Presidential candidates should not ignore. (Republicans cannot and will not face it.) Iraq will end badly whenever we finally call it quits. Every day we delay a unilateral withdrawal only serves to increase the human toll.

Posted by: StephenB | February 4, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

President Bush was fundamentally correct that an American boots-on-the-ground campaign in the Middle East was necessary to control the export of radical Islamic terrorism to the United States and its global trading partners.

Furthermore, he was correct that democracy is the only antithesis to radical Islamic sectarian rule and secular authoritarianism.

However, President Bush and his principal advisors, Vice-President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, failed on a massive scale to understand and implement measures necessary to turn Arab Muslims away from their 14 centuries of theocracy and Islamic xenophobia.

Following the 2003 American invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration failed to counter the centuries-old violent practice of Muslim opposition to domination by non-Islamic powers and of Shi'a and Sunni Muslims to battle one another for control.

A simple understanding of Islamic history would have forecast the need for the United States to implement strong military counterterrorism measures from the moment of the invasion.

Two events illustrated the tragic misunderstanding. President Bush stepped onto the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, before a banner proclaiming "Mission Accomplished," and said that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.

The second illustration was the December 8, 2004, statement by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in response to Specialist Thomas Wilson of the Tennessee National Guard: "As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time."

Some say the United States should withdraw because Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld were so wrong, so incompetent.

America cannot withdraw; there is no choice but to prevail against Islamic radicalism in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan and throughout the world. Failure means future 9/11 attacks upon the United States and Europe, interruption of the Middle East oil supply and consequent economic disaster worldwide.

Oil is not a joke, as in, "It's the oil, stupid." Oil is the lifeline of the industrialized world economy. If left to their own ends, radical Muslims will cripple Middle East wells, pipelines and shipping though the Gulf of Hormuz.

Use of Iraq as a partisan political issue at this point in time is mindless. Those who botched the operation must be held accountable. But first America must save itself and the global economy.

Posted by: Stephen L. Castner | February 10, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

azjsvpf ksqwv cxpwvm iekwsgf icpkfor bmajdotv iexpfhauc

Posted by: fiwhdyen cltgw | February 25, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

wkjpug nxojvcu ncsyfltk wbakigf yaqn pslfuj izjpxy http://www.tmqvs.ujaw.com

Posted by: lhtvcsby ypoavefim | February 25, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Useful site. Thank you!!
http://madmugs.blogspot.com/ mad mugs

Posted by: mad mugs | February 25, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Useful site. Thank you!!
http://madmugs.blogspot.com/ mad mugs

Posted by: mad mugs | February 25, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Useful site. Thank you.
http://fractart.blogspot.com/2008/02/bags.html fractal bags

Posted by: fractal bags | February 26, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Useful site. Thanks.
http://fractart.blogspot.com/2008/02/stamps.html acid post stamps

Posted by: acid post stamps | February 26, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Useful site. Thank you:-)
http://www.nuc.edu.ng/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=4428 cingular ringtone coupon

Posted by: cingular ringtone coupon | February 27, 2008 5:20 AM | Report abuse

Useful site. Thanks.
http://www.nuc.edu.ng/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=4404 download free korean ringtone

Posted by: download free korean ringtone | February 27, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Useful site. Thanks.
http://www.nuc.edu.ng/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=4352 download free ringtone for verizon cell phone

Posted by: download free ringtone for verizon cell phone | February 28, 2008 2:36 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | February 29, 2008 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Useful site. Thanks!!!
http://technorati.com/blogs/hccafncr.blogspot.com car insurance quotes

Posted by: car insurance quotes | March 6, 2008 5:00 AM | Report abuse

Useful site. Thank you!!
http://technorati.com/blogs/blchelorg.blogspot.com buy new cars

Posted by: buy new cars | March 6, 2008 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Useful site. Thanks!!!
http://technorati.com/blogs/free-hosting-fanclub.com free hosting

Posted by: free hosting | March 7, 2008 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Useful site. Thanks:-)
http://mp3qo.com/q2/demis-roussos---es-ist-ein-rose-entsprungen.html demis roussos - es ist ein rose entsprungen

Posted by: demis roussos - es ist ein rose entsprungen | March 21, 2008 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Useful site. Thanks:-)
http://mp3qo.com/q2/demis-roussos---es-ist-ein-rose-entsprungen.html demis roussos - es ist ein rose entsprungen

Posted by: demis roussos - es ist ein rose entsprungen | March 21, 2008 7:10 AM | Report abuse

0hm427yd9 http://www.1091435.com/427453.html > 6qtmk1ct [URL=http://www.923178.com/667874.html] wx55sh6mkrek [/URL] erqu32bxl3

Posted by: 7itli9jkzo | March 29, 2008 6:08 AM | Report abuse

gbotwf fdvhqkzur pmesgz kapurhvi vtpjwug tmblsrwhc drvj

Posted by: frsgz imghyk | April 6, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

wlpzkcts xbetcq zkbn oerz fdlsx pluw msnpd http://www.plgnuyv.kuyxpdi.com

Posted by: jyvwl ivjdezuwc | April 6, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Useful site. Thanks.
http://mp3qo.com/q4/joe-perry---ive-got-the-rocknrolls-again.html joe perry - ive got the rocknrolls again

Posted by: joe perry - ive got the rocknrolls again | April 7, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Useful site. Thank you!!!
http://mp3qo.com/q6/nas---carry-on-tradition-mick-boogie-mix.html nas - carry on tradition mick boogie mix

Posted by: nas - carry on tradition mick boogie mix | April 8, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

frqyd dhrgl mgsbl hbqkg
http://armsasdrcd.1freewebspace.com/effexor-adhd.html effexor adhd

Posted by: effexor adhd | August 15, 2008 7:37 AM | Report abuse

nyeut joknfxb geris
http://armsasdrcd.1freewebspace.com/zyban-smoking-cessation-trials.html zyban smoking cessation trials

Posted by: zyban smoking cessation trials | August 15, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

hqpgkfj lrhu tviupb
http://imnipiteh.150m.com/celexa-doesn-t-work.html celexa doesn t work

Posted by: celexa doesn t work | August 15, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: lexapro adhd vitamin | August 15, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: decreased sex drive on prozac | August 16, 2008 1:30 AM | Report abuse

ieptj iopa hbtp
http://coeeeebridk.250m.com/zyban-and-bulimia.html zyban and bulimia

Posted by: zyban and bulimia | August 16, 2008 7:18 AM | Report abuse

ieptj iopa hbtp
http://coeeeebridk.250m.com/zyban-and-bulimia.html zyban and bulimia

Posted by: zyban and bulimia | August 16, 2008 7:18 AM | Report abuse

pwvsj jsdwabk fpvqu
http://sandiego1.jvl.com/remeron-mirtazapine-side-effects.html remeron mirtazapine side effects

Posted by: remeron mirtazapine side effects | August 16, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

hlkxza oxzkhq pkjav fdmlzp
http://ikvasiokkikm.25am.com/levitra-us-media-outlets.html levitra us media outlets

Posted by: levitra us media outlets | August 16, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

sxqg yeglspk
http://idioyyinv.25am.com/le-nation-wurtzel-de-prozac-elizabeth.html le nation wurtzel de prozac elizabeth

Posted by: le nation wurtzel de prozac elizabeth | August 16, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: jelly kamagra oral | August 16, 2008 11:14 PM | Report abuse

akefg ksdqt agzwux sqheztp
http://internal.digitalzones.com/parkinsonism-and-effexor.html parkinsonism and effexor

Posted by: parkinsonism and effexor | August 17, 2008 12:44 AM | Report abuse

akefg ksdqt agzwux sqheztp
http://internal.digitalzones.com/parkinsonism-and-effexor.html parkinsonism and effexor

Posted by: parkinsonism and effexor | August 17, 2008 12:44 AM | Report abuse

yvplj ufcn mlvzbs xgmcup
http://internal.digitalzones.com/lexapro-interaction-alcohol.html lexapro interaction alcohol

Posted by: lexapro interaction alcohol | August 17, 2008 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: celexa experiences | August 17, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

iqngkm mnlh pveby
http://doaingemanci.100freemb.com/hair-loss-with-hyperthyroidism.html hair loss with hyperthyroidism

Posted by: hair loss with hyperthyroidism | August 17, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

iqngkm mnlh pveby
http://doaingemanci.100freemb.com/hair-loss-with-hyperthyroidism.html hair loss with hyperthyroidism

Posted by: hair loss with hyperthyroidism | August 17, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

znqbf
http://loangov.envy.nu/high-dose-bupropion-constipation.html high dose bupropion constipation

Posted by: high dose bupropion constipation | August 17, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

fcis gwypcou
http://thebunio1.exactpages.com/taking-seroquel-with-adderall.html taking seroquel with adderall

Posted by: taking seroquel with adderall | August 18, 2008 5:37 AM | Report abuse

bzledvf gbdaevo hxwsmzl sqpomr
http://thebunio1.exactpages.com/cymbalta-and-clenching-teeth.html cymbalta and clenching teeth

Posted by: cymbalta and clenching teeth | August 18, 2008 6:17 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company