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Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Beginning of the End Over the Latest War Funds Fight

Congressional leaders could have the work complete by Monday on a half trillion dollar package, 11 billion of which would be for domestic spending programs such as emergency drought relief for the Southeast and legislation to address the subprime mortgage crisis, and the monies needed for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, all according to Steny Hoyer, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.)

"The way you pass appropriations bills is you get agreement among all the relevant players, among which the president with his veto pen is a very relevant player," Hoyer said. "Everybody knows he has no intention of signing anything without money for Iraq, unfettered, without constraints. I think that's ultimately going to be the result."

Despite rhetoric to the contrary, Congress and the Senate are unwilling to go on their December vacations without funding our troops in the field and without risking that over a hundred thousand civilian workers would be getting pink slips before Christmas because the Congress didn't get the funds approved.

The deal making began between Democratic and Republican politicians.

The plan is a three step approach, first to approve $30 billion for the war in Afghanistan which Hoyer admits that all sides are aware could be shifted to pay for Iraq, then it would go to the Senate where to avoid a filibuster, Majority leader Harry Reid would then allow that amount to be raised, then back to the House for final approval.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was the first to outline this idea which would take care of the 11 remaining appropriations bills rolled into what they call and omnibus spending bill,and Steny Hoyer has stated that the Democratic politicians are willing to accept that deal.

Many are stating the Democrats are caving to pressure because of the recent success and progress being seen in Iraq, but the other side of that coin is the president also is having to compromise by approving the domestic spending within the bill, something he said he would not do.

Both sides have had to compromise to get the work of the people finished before the Christmas recess and Nancy Pelosi has not commented on this deal, but Steny Hoyer bringing it to the Washington Post has.

Politicians from both sides are divided on this bill, the Democratic politicians unhappy because it funds Iraq and they have vowed not to do so despite the recent progress touted by their own politicians upon returning from Iraq.

Republican politicians are also unhappy with this bill because of the domestic spending within it as they have promised their constituents that they would get back to fiscal responsibility.

Neither side will be completely happy, but negotiations and compromise is the only way to get the work done and those two factors are what legislating is all about.

At the end of the article is Hoyers last statement:

Hoyer struck a pragmatic tone, pushing for Congress to adjourn for the year by the end of next week. He suggested that Democrats need to divorce their goal of ending the war from the battle over funding.

"We have to get to a point where the American public more clearly perceives our policy position and is not confused by whether or not the Democrats intend to support the troops that we've sent to Iraq. I don't think there's an option on that," Hoyer said.

Hoyer is speaking realistically and although this promises to not be a very quiet vacation for politicians on either side of the aisle, everybody on the hill understands that these appropriations bills have been there for months and have to be passed.

Reactions from around the blogosphere, on both sides of the aisle, will be added as an update..

[Update] As promised, reactions are in:

Don Surber:

The Surge worked. Congress hasn’t. Time to quit the hippie act.

A 3-way deal among the House Democrats, Senate Democrats and Republicans was cut. Democrats will throw in the towel this weekend on their silly refusal to fund a war that we’re winning.

That is huge. Democrats have bet their farm on failure in Iraq.

President Bush is about to collect that farm.

A Blog For All:

Reality is beginning to catch up with Congressional Democrats. Not only are they behind the curve on what is going on in Iraq, but they've been on the wrong side for so long that they're going to piss off their core constituency.

Proving Lawhawk's point is DailyKos:

Isn't that great? What a bold move. Our "leadership" is really going out on a limb here, expressing confidence that Republicans will go along with publicly screwing the Democrats, not to mention the troops they vowed to get out of Iraq, aren't they? And the best part? It won't mess up their holiday plans.

Booman Tribune:

You might think you know what that means. Hoyer is saying we have no choice but to give no-strings-attached supplemental funding for the war in Iraq because, otherwise, the American people will be confused about whether we support the troops that 'we've sent to Iraq'. Give him 'A's' for Cowardice and False Dichotomies and a 'F' in Framing. It's actually worse than you know. And it's going to be incredibly ugly. A car wreck.

Jules Crittenden mentions one of the things that bothers me about this whole thing:

And apparently the way you get agreement among all the other relevant players is to buy them off. Kind of sad, when a significant block of America’s political leadership has to be bribed to continue supporting U.S. troops in the field, thwarting genocide and terrorism, building democracy.

Talk Left:

What a pathetic cowardly loser Hoyer is. There is no difference between Democrats and Republicans on Iraq. They both own it.

Prairie Pundit's reaction amuses me greatly:

In almost any other context such a proposal should be referred to the Justice Department to see if charges of extortion should be filed. It is particularly egregious because it holding funding for the troops hostage to the Democrats vote buying schemes. But, unfortunately, in Washington this is what is known as politics as usual.

Blue Crab Boulevard:

And with that, the entire charade that has been played out in the twisted, surreal kabuki theater that is Washington comes out. The "principled stand" of the Democrats is quite amenable to a pork payoff. The deal is not yet done and, frankly, this story is a trial balloon. House leaders on the Republican side are not happy about this at all. But you can just about bet that Pelosi sent Hoyer out to draw fire on the deal.

Reactions found at Memeorandum, I am sure more will show up shortly.