Will Obama And Clinton Get Behind The Binding Iraq Timetable?
by Josh Orton, Wed May 21, 2008 at 02:29:09 PM EDT
With all the energy focused on the presidential contest, it's easy to forget that back in Congress there's still work being done to end the war.
Senator Feingold, who has long led the effort for changing course in Iraq, will be introducing an amendment:
U.S. Senator Russ Feingold is letting Senate leaders know today of his intent to offer an amendment to the Iraq supplemental spending bill to safely redeploy U.S. troops from Iraq, after which funding for the war would end.
The Senate is currently considering two versions of the supplemental spending bill - one approved by the House, the other approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee - that include only weak redeployment language marking a significant step backward from the first Iraq spending bill that Congress sent to the President a year ago.
"I am deeply disappointed that Congress is considering another Iraq spending bill that does nothing to end the war in Iraq," Feingold said. "There's a lot of tough talk from Democrats and even some Republicans about ending the war but not enough real action to do so. Democrats took control of Congress last year pledging to work to bring an end to the war. But now, five years into this war, with 4,000 Americans killed, over 30,000 wounded, and over $10 billion per month being spent in Iraq, we're actually moving backwards in our goal to end the war. This is a retreat from responsibility."
The Senate version of the Iraq supplemental spending bill contains non-binding "sense of Congress" language that the mission in Iraq should be transitioned by June 2009. The House version of the supplemental requires redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq to begin within 30 days with a goal of completion within 18 months, which is a longer period than the 11 month goal included in the bill Congress sent the President last year. The House bill also has broader exceptions than the bill vetoed by the President a year ago.
Sponsors include Majority Leader Harry Reid with Sens Dick Durbin, Pat Leahy, Sheldon Whitehouse, Bernie Sanders, Frank Lautenberg, Barbara Boxer, Tom Harkin, and Robert Menendez.
Not listed? The two Democratic Senators running for President.
As we turn into the general election, we can't let the issue of Iraq slip off the table.
As noted earlier, McCain surrogate Joe Lieberman penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed today framing Democrats as weak on domestic security and foreign policy. Perhaps given the media backseat the Iraq war has taken in the last few months, the notion that Lieberman can get away with such a ridiculous argument is slightly less surprising.
But in order to keep Republicans and Democrats alike accountable for ending the war, we can't let such important work slide.
And as we continue to build the progressive movement this year, staying committed to progressive issues and positions is the only way we'll stay grounded.