Yeah, We Saw That Coming
Bush had hoped to persuade congressional leaders to withhold judgment until last night's speech, meeting with more than 125 lawmakers in the run-up to the speech, including House leaders yesterday. But rank-and-file Democrats were unwilling to wait before laying the groundwork to thwart what they call an escalation.
House Democratic leaders have said they will not use the power of the purse in any way that would harm troops in the field, a position that had run afoul of the party's liberal activists. Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher (D-Calif.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, said that pledge is being calibrated to apply only to troops in the field now.
Tauscher said Democratic policy must "satisfy the American people that we're putting a speed bump in front of the president that will actually hold," adding: "The White House is used to doing business on their own, but they're realizing things have changed. This is vastly different."
House Democrats also expect to introduce soon a resolution of disapproval for Bush's new policy but have moved farther than Senate Democrats toward an outright funding confrontation with the White House.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) called Tuesday for the administration to ask for renewed authorization from Congress before sending additional troops to Iraq. "I don't believe there's a single member of the U.S. Senate that would have voted for the authorization bill in October 2002 if they thought the authorization was going to commit American forces to be involved in a civil war," he said yesterday.
And to the surprise of absolutely no one:
A top GOP senator said that he "will filibuster" any Democratic attempt to decrease funding for President Bush's new Iraq plan, the Associated Press reports.
"McConnell said he was 'hopeful' of keeping enough Republicans to muster the 40 votes needed to block a resolution (which in any case would be non-binding)," Paul Mirengoff blogs at Power Line. "McConnell added that he looks forward to the support of Sen. Lieberman. However, he could not say that any other Democrats will join the Connecticut Senator."
Lots of Democrats coming out against the escalation, but talk is cheap. Where does your Senator stand on the Kennedy legislation?