Congress’s failure last week to agree whether and how to fund the war puts the onus on the Pentagon, at least for now, to find a way to cover expenses in Iraq, potentially forcing the Defense Department to close dozens of domestic military bases and imperil the livelihoods of tens of thousands of defense workers.
The congressional inaction may trigger Secretary Robert Gates to carry out his threat last week to furlough as many as 200,000 civil servants and defense contractors this winter, raising the stakes for Democratic lawmakers determined to tie war funding to a drawdown of US troops from Iraq.
Before lawmakers left town Friday for their Thanksgiving recess, they did approve the Pentagon’s $470 billion base budget, but not a supplemental funding request to pay for war operations. Democrats don’t want to fund that $189 billion defense request from President Bush unless the money is tied to deadlines, or at least goals, to bring the bulk of troops home from Iraq by the end of 2008. [complete article]
Democrats in Congress failed once again Friday to shift President Bush’s war strategy in Iraq, but insisted that they would not let up. Their explanation for their latest foiled effort seemed to boil down to a simple question: “What else are we supposed to do?”
Frustrated by the lack of political progress in Iraq, under pressure by antiwar groups and mindful of polls showing that most Americans want the war to end, the Democrats last week put forward a $50 billion war spending bill with strings attached knowing it would fail.
Like so many of the war-related measures that Democrats have proposed this year, the spending bill sought to set a timeline for redeploying American troops, and to narrow the mission to focus on counterterrorism and on the training of Iraq’s security forces. [complete article]