Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

Democrats have a host of bills to try and stop the escalation. One of those bills was from Chris Dodd, and had the following purpose:

[My bill] says that, prior to sending any more troops -- the 20,000 the president wants to put into Iraq, 17,000 of them into Baghdad, a city of 6 million people -- it would require a prior authorization by the Congress.

Good idea--this bill has actual teeth. Unfortunately, today it failed to get out of committee, largely due to five Democratic defections. From an email I just received:

For those keeping score, here's the Foreign Relations Committee vote on an amendment to cap the troop numbers and to require a complete reauthorization for any increase in troop levels in Iraq:

Dodd - Aye
Kerry - Aye
Feingold - Aye
Boxer - Aye
Obama - Aye
Menedez - Aye

Biden - No
Cardin - No
Nelson - No
Casey - No
Webb - No

Lugar - no
Hagel - No
Coleman - No
Sununnu - No
Corker - No
Voinovich - No
Murkowski - No
DeMint - No
Issacson - No
Vitter - No

I emphasized Hagel as well because I think it shows, like most "independent minded" Republicans, he is all talk and no walk when it comes to stopping Bush.

In terms of individual Democratic votes, I am very disappointed in Democratic freshman--especially Webb. This is pretty stunning after his speech last night. I didn't expect much more from Casey and Nelson. I certainly expected a lot more from Cardin--maybe the Mfume people were right about him, but one vote is not the whole story. Boxer and Feingold typically rock. Also, say what you will about him, but Menendez is one of the best voting Democrats in the Senate--possibly top five. And good for Obama on this one. Further, when you look at his actions over the past year, Kerry seems to have clearly seen the light on Iraq.

Chris Dodd deserves props for proposing this legislation. From what I am told, Biden appears to have led the opposition. Just drop out of the race already.

Tags: Chris Dodd, Iraq, Senate Democrats (all tags)

Comments

46 Comments

Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

It seems to me, with as much credit as Webb got for his speech last night, we at least owe him the benefit of the doubt on this one.  It's not like he follows around Biden or anyone else like a toady.

Let's find out his explanation and see what we think of it.  We know he's no fan of escalation.

by Steve M 2007-01-24 09:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

the votes were cast against because congress authorizes but the white house can still send troops anyway.

The bill is too far fetched. What you are seeing down the line is a vote against the bill , by the seniors plus webb.

Webbs vote is actually quite mature given his speech last night - there are several ways to get the skids put on the plan; this was more of a piece of political showmanship owing to its scope - and Webb voted against it because , after all, he was secretary of the navy and he knew for a fact that it wouldn't matter and the whitehouse would ignor it.

by heyAnita 2007-01-24 11:02AM | 0 recs
I listened to a live stream of FR comm.

hearing and I kept hearing Biden say that there were 2 votes scheduled for the Committee

Does anyone know about the other one and what it was?

by merbex 2007-01-24 09:29AM | 0 recs
Re: I listened to a live stream of FR comm.

I don't know. But at the very least, it strikes me that Biden may hae worked to vote down this bill due to his personal ambitious--ie, letting someone who isn't running in 2008 have their bill go to the floor, instead of Dodd. Aarrgghh.

by Chris Bowers 2007-01-24 09:34AM | 0 recs
I know that Feingold got Biden to

respond to something Feingold said; Biden seemed awfully touchy and snippy when he reacted -

Biden said he was not intimidated by President? when Feingold said that the 2 bills didn't go far enough although he would vote for them leading him to think some were intimidated.

by merbex 2007-01-24 09:38AM | 0 recs
In disagreement
Run, Joe, run.
And indeed he will run, and nobody will notice.  Not even people from Delaware.  Then, sometime in early February 2008, after all his Joementum is played out, he'll withdraw from the race.  And it will only be covered here and on dailykos.
by ChgoSteve 2007-01-24 09:41AM | 0 recs
Re: In disagreement

I agree with ChgoSteve.

An additional benefit: Biden's bid will likely suck up some the GOP's money (read: creditors/bankers).

by marksist 2007-01-24 09:47AM | 0 recs
Re: In disagreement

Biden should not be colored by his vote on this bill. This bill was stillborn.

by heyAnita 2007-01-24 11:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

I caught the latter part of the Committee meeting on C-SPAN 3 about an hour or so ago.  I suspect it will re-air at some point today, and it is worth watching to hear the various Senators' cases regarding supporting/opposing the resolution (Webb, again, was very good).

Biden and Webb both mentioned that they wanted a clean resolution not layered with amendments to be voted on.  Biden also mentioned (Dodd was seated to his immediated left) that the amendments offered (Kerry also had an amendment) apparently would be re-visited down the road in the Committee.  

I could be mistaken, but I think the Dodd bill (he is the #2 Democrat on the Committee) will probably be brought up back up on its own.

by Hadi 2007-01-24 09:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

I need to rewatch this thing to figure out whether Dodd's proposal was introduced as an amendment to the existing Levin-Hagel-Biden resolution, or on its own.  

What was interesting though, was that Hagel appeared to be alone on the Republican side in moving his co-sponsored bill.  Does this indicate that Sununu and Coleman, who voted no, will vote against this resolution on the floor? Does this mean they will support an alternative, like the Nelson-Warner-Collins resolution?

Either way, Republican Senators up for re-election in 2008 will have a tough time overcoming the situation in Iraq.  

by Hadi 2007-01-24 09:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee


Does anyone know whether Biden specifically mentioned planning on revisiting Dodd's proposal down the road (I could have sworn he mentioned something about revisiting some of the amendment issues brought up)?

I believe I may have been mistaken above, and Chris was correct in his original analysis.

by Hadi 2007-01-24 10:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

Curious that CSPAN does not appear to have carried this hearing live, despite congress's now being in Democratic hands and thus making this resolution more than merely symbolic.

Brian Lamb just cannot restrain his obvious need to do whatever he can to help the right in its ongoing struggle against reality and the national good.

I'm referring, of course, to CSPAN's obvious tendency to feature right-wing figures, think tanks and events over those on the left--or even "center" (in its principled, non-McCain or Lieberman sense). Hardly a day goes by without AEI, the Heritage Foundation or a Bill Kristol or Frank Gafney type spouting force their nonsense and untruths on CSPAN. And the call-in shows are absolutely dominated by retarded wingnuts. I can only wonder if their screeners have anything to do with this...

by kovie 2007-01-24 12:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

I'm not sure such a bill would be constitutional. (?)

by Laurin from SC 2007-01-24 09:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

That was my thinking as well.  It seems to me to be a power-grab in violation of the separation of powers just like the "legislative veto" was.

by Laurin from SC 2007-01-24 10:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

You seem to talk as if this is a settled issue, which it's not.

Where is the language in the Constitution that says Congress, which has the war power, can't place limits on troop levels?  You won't find it.

Where is the precedent of Congress attempting to restrict troop levels, and the courts declaring it unconstitutional?  It doesn't exist.

The truth is, none of this is written in stone, and the courts are going to be very reluctant to get involved at all.  Can you see a court issuing an injunction requiring the President to bring troops home from Iraq?  Not in a million years.

by Steve M 2007-01-24 10:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

I looked around for more on this question and found some interesting stuff on Ted Kennedy's website about Kennedy's questioning of Gonzales on this issue.

Obviously such a law would never get signed by the President, but it would be kinda interesting for the Courts to consider the scope of Congressional authority to affect war policy in ways other than through the power of the purse.

by Laurin from SC 2007-01-24 11:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

Article I; Section VIII
Clause XIV: The Congress shall have Power to make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces.


Article I; Section VIII
Clause XVI: The Congress shall have Power to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.


So what part of directing the activities of the armed forces by the Congress would be unconstitutional?

Peace,
Chad (The Left) Shue

by chadshue 2007-01-24 10:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

well, the first one is a book of regulations type thing.

the second one you are quoting amounts to organization , ie - buying buildings in the states , etc.

congress does not have the power to send troops anywhere. The commander in chief of the armed forces sends the troops.  

there are things congress can do, but its not cut and dried. its tricky - the american people have to keep the heat up or the congressmen will see this cynical move by the white house as one in which, simply, the war will be lost + the losers will be branded - a year late. After all that was Karl Roves only goal.

by heyAnita 2007-01-24 11:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee
First, actually the first one says Government and Regulation so I guess the argument might be made that they have the "power to govern"


Again, in the second clause I reference, it specifically states, "and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States..."


Considering that the Constitution was written by men who were taking a strong stand against imperial rule, it seems pretty clear to me that the Congress was intended to supercede the Executive in the ultimate control of the military.


As far as this Commander in Chief stuff:


Article II; Section 2


Clause I: The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.


Even a Commander in Chief must answer to somebody. The United States actually conferred that position on various officers in our history right up to good old Stormin Norman Schwarzkopf who was "Commander in Chief, United States Central Command" during the Gulf War.


My reading of this clause is simply that, rather than have "...the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States..." each have a separate commander in time of joint action, the President would assume that singular role.


Peace,
Chad (The Left) Shue

by chadshue 2007-01-24 01:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

You raise an interesting point, and I agree with the commenter above that this issue isn't settled.  I'll poke around a little and see if I can find some cases interpreting those clauses you listed.  I suspect there's been a very narrow interpretation of them.  Seems to me that constitutionally-speaking, the Commander-in-Chief doesn't answer to the Congress in war policy, which is what this amounts to.

by Laurin from SC 2007-01-24 11:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

And I'll throw out a corollary to consider:

If Congress has the power to declare war, does that mean Congress has an implicit power to undeclare war?

by Laurin from SC 2007-01-24 11:19AM | 0 recs
No troops, no surge.

"and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States"

The Congress has the power to return the National Guard to the States.

by benmasel 2007-01-25 08:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

According to a Dodd press release, there is precedent for capping troop levels:

"There is sufficient precedent for such action; in 1973, 1983, 1984 and 2000 Congress established provisions that limited the number of US troops in Vietnam, Lebanon, Europe and Colombia.  The Executive Branch abided by those limitations."

by bystander 2007-01-24 01:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

In those cases, I'm wondering if the caps operated by cutting off funding thereafter or if the caps were actual statutory limitations on the President's capacity to deploy troops.  Using the power-of-the-purse is definitely constitutional, but I'm not sure this "permission slip from Congress" is.  It seems to be a gray-area issue.

by Laurin from SC 2007-01-24 02:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

If I heard Biden's retort correctly, the vote could be construed to validate the status quo and allow Bush to not withdraw any troops.

I do not know if Dodd's proposed language would have that opening for Bush, but I would give Webb (and other Dem's not named Biden) the benefit of the doubt on an argument that Dodd's proposal would hamstring efforts at redeployment or withdrawal.

by magster 2007-01-24 09:56AM | 0 recs
War and Politics

They have gone hand in hand since the first war was fought.   I think it is clear that some Democrats and Republicans who do not support the President on his plan, still do not want any part of the responsibility for the war, or its conduct, thrown at their feet.   Therefore, it is better to pass a resolution saying his plan stinks, than doing something to actually attempt to stop it.

Think about it.   What of Bush's plan is stopped?   What does he and every wingnut do next?  They say its not their fault the war is in the shape it is in, its the people that tied one hand behind Bush's back and stopped his plan before it could work(and just imagine how the plan will be portrayed over time if it were thwarted -  a year from now it will rank up there with plans drawn up by Washington, Sherman, Pershing, or Patton).

I also think some, and Webb may one of these, do not feel Congress has the authority, short of spending measures, to direct the President on the movement of troops during war time.  

by dpANDREWS 2007-01-24 10:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

Biden's running for President, and has his own bill.  The radio just said that his bill had been passed out of comittee, with a vote from its cosponsor, Hagel.  It's just political bullshit.  Biden wants his name on it, and Hagel wants his name on it, so they voted against Dodd's version.

by libdevil 2007-01-24 10:03AM | 0 recs
Cardin: Unfortunately Predictable Disappointment

Well, I was one of those Mfume guys, and while I was unpredictably disappointed in Mfume (didn't seem like his heart was in it), this was exactly what I expected and feared from Cardin.

I'm one of his constituents and will be on his case, but he, like Sen. Mikulski, is likely to be pretty people-proof.  Now if I owned a corporation ...

by robinpc 2007-01-24 10:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Cardin: Unfortunately Predictable Disappointme

This is one of those situations all the Mfume supporters discussed.  Mfume would have been a guaranteed "aye" vote here.  Whether he would have been a guaranteed Senate win like Ben was has been debated to death.  

I will be emailing Mr. Cardin to let him know of my extreme disapointment.

by andy k 2007-01-24 10:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Cardin: Unfortunately Predictable

Thinking the same...

by js noble 2007-01-25 09:39AM | 0 recs
Ha

All you folks this morning yelling "Webb For President!!!"? Vote Biden. Heh.

by rusty 2007-01-24 10:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

At this point I have more confidence in Webb than in Dodd and I have no confidence at in Biden. I guess we have to go with the Senate we have not the Senate we would like to have.

by JSN 2007-01-24 10:08AM | 0 recs
Why did I vote for Ben Cardin?

Beats the heck out of me.  He sold Maryland by being anti-war from the start.  Yeah right.  May as well have voted for Steele.

With you, Robinpc.

by Bruce Godfrey 2007-01-24 10:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

I followed up on your suggestion and thanked Dodd for his bill.

by ozma 2007-01-24 10:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

Maybe the Dems are supporting a different measure. There are other anti-war resolutions being considered.  

by Marylander 2007-01-24 10:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

Dodd's proposal, ostensibly capping the troop levels and requiring reauthorization before exceeding the cap, was genuinely flawed.  

  1. It purports to tie the President's hands, but would require passage in the House and signature by the President.  Not. Gonna.  Happen.
  2. The "cap" is, as Sen. Biden pointed out, not related to anything real, because the actual # of troops in Iraq shifts from month to month.
  3. Actual increase in troops would be accomplished by simply retaining troops otherwise slated for rotation out, so the Dodd proposal would be impossible to enforce, even if adopted.
  4. As drafted, it would have the appearance of ratifying current troop levels, which misses the entire point of the debate, which is not the size of the US involvement, but the direction of movement -- the public wants out, not in.
  5. Further, by ratifying current levels of troop strength, it might even be read as ratifying continued involvement, despite the evaporation of the original justifications of the Use of Force Resolution.

IMHO, a quick and clean non-binding sense of the Senate (or even Joint) Resolution makes the point, moves the argument forward, and sets the stage for more forceful action.  

by nycounsel 2007-01-24 10:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

You must be a sellout.  (sarcasm)

by Marylander 2007-01-24 10:47AM | 0 recs
we've been waiting close to 5 years

for "forceful action" from the dems to rein bush in, and some of us are getting tired of waiting. it has become a bit of a pattern with senate dems (house dems seem to be doing a better job of it).

by wu ming 2007-01-24 09:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee
Watching the play-by-play by word-of-mouth will get plenty of people into rhetorical foot-in-mouth errors.

Watching this closely is entertaining. But because it's 'pretend close' (you can't change anything except your level of calmness) it does not move progressives forward.

Go stuff some envelopes, talk your grandmother into voting Democratic, donate to a special election, talk "your cousin Sally" or "that councillor with the Prius" into running next cycle against that formerly unbeatable $Y%^%$%^* upsate.

Later , even later today, when the fur has flown, and the fan is empty again, we will all see what is transpiring, and make descions and not rumours.

Stop attacking Democtrats.



I cant't see the light, but I know it's a tunnel,
and the shouting up ahead is encouraging.
by inexile 2007-01-24 11:01AM | 0 recs
This bill by Dodd

was a nakedly political ploy to garner headlines and give a boost to his flagging presidential bid.

There are already several bills circulating. Dodd could've signed on to one of those. Instead, he didn't bother seeking consensus and pushed ahead hoping to earn political support.

MoveOn, for example, refused to sign on to the Dodd bill since they are already invested in the Kennedy one.

by kos 2007-01-24 11:29AM | 0 recs
Wasn't he literally cutting in line?

My impression is that his amendment would have had to be voted on on the floor of the Senate before the nonbinding resolution that Dems have spent the last month putting together.  Slam the nonbinding resolution all you want, but scheduling that for a vote first, and then moving from there, seems like reasonable parliamentary strategy.  And no matter what it's the agreed upon Senate Democrat strategy, and Dodd was trying to cut in line and get a measure with his name on it to be voted on first.  

And for that we pile on Biden, Webb, and Cardin.

by texas dem 2007-01-24 02:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee

The point of any current and future bill opposing the "surge" and our ongoing engagement in Iraq is to actually prevent this "surge" and end this engagement, and not to serve as some sort of symbolic but toothless gesture towards this end.

Reid's bill, while on the face of it symbolic and lacking teeth, has the merit of having at least two and likely more Republican supporters--including respected Foreign Relations committee member Chuck Hagel--which in effect gives it teeth, in that it further isolates Bush from his GOP base and makes it increasingly harder for him to garner broad public support for his war policy. It also serves to establish a small but crucial platform against the administration's case for continuing the war that future, more weighty resolutions, can then build upon.

Dodd's bill, on the other hand, while on its face seeming to have more teeth than Reid's non-binding bill, in fact has no teeth at all, because, as others have pointed out, it will in no way curtail Bush's ability to implement his "surge", because funds and means to do so can fairly easily be found elsewhere. It is not unlike those meaningless gun control laws that banned certain guns, but not the kinds that actual criminals often used in carrying out crimes. Furthermore, by being so impotent, if passed it would have actually diminished congress's ability to regulate a president's warmaking powers, not enhance it, by setting a precedent for meaningless legislative action, and further turned the senate into the imperial Roman's version, which said much but did little.

Webb is no dummy. Nor is he unserious about ending this war, unlike some of the other so-called war opponents who similarly say much but do little.

by kovie 2007-01-24 12:06PM | 0 recs
Biden!

   Of course.  This is really very disappointing.  It should have gotten out of committee at least.  I guess I'll have to take Chris Dodd more seriously.  Biden is really a problem for us - maybe even more so than Lieberman right now.

by cilerder86 2007-01-24 12:10PM | 0 recs
I think this is pretty dumb.

Unless you really are aware of the parliamentary angles on this legislation, you (especially you, Chris!) should not be making the mistake of looking at one particular amendment and drawing sweeping conclusions about who does or does not support this or that policy.

That is a really dumb and amateur thing to do, and Chris you are neither dumb nor an amateur.

Dodd's measure was an amendment to the famed nonbinding resolution.  As a parliamentary matter, Dems appear to have decided to vote on the nonbinding resolution first.  Even there, there's two competing versions: Hagel's and Snowe/Warner's (one has harsher language than the other).    I can respect the judgement of a committee chair or chamber leadership to set aside certain types of amendments until after a certain other vote.  After all, the Senate would have to vote on the amendment to the bill before voting on the final bill, upperdown.

If Biden has decided, for parliamentary reasons, to schedule the vote a certain way -- and he has the support of half our committee members, many of whom we trust -- why are we presuming that he doesn't support the substance of the amendment because of the way he has decided to schedule it?  That is, like, 30-second-attack-ad kind of reasoning.

If you happen to know the ins and outs of the parliamentary, scheduling, process arguments, and you want to criticize Biden (and Webb and Cardin et al) on that, then by all means do so.  But show your work and write out your logic and show why Biden (and Webb and Cardin) need to be criticized for this or that parliamentary choice.

If you're not gonna do that, then don't go treating parliamentary maneuvers as if they were a real reflection of policy preferences.  Cause they aren't.  And you must surely know that by now.

===

I reread your post and my comment to make sure they're appropriate to each other, and they are.  You make sweeping, wild judgements about our Democratic senators based on what really is a scheduling vote.  As I said, surely you know better than that.

by texas dem 2007-01-24 02:53PM | 0 recs
you made your bed

now sleep in it. this is what settling for centrist schumer picks gets you. i hope they'll bother to deliver on some of what they campaigned for, or else you all bought a false bill of goods. goed forbid we have to block another neanderthal SCOTUS appointment with these guys.

by wu ming 2007-01-24 09:44PM | 0 recs
by karine mine 2007-07-03 11:10AM | 0 recs

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