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Spinning the Senate Vote
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, March 28, 2007

As I tried to explain yesterday in a brief paragraph at the end of this post, the minority leadership in the Senate was attempting to fight the withdrawal and bench mark language, but not too hard, since they knew that the bill in question was going nowhere and the funding deadline was approaching. In essence, as Sen. McConnell has said, they wanted to get the veto out of the way so they could concentrate on getting a bill together the President would and could sign.

The reason? Because the bill had already passed the House with the objectionable language in place and as Sen. McConnell pointed out, when it goes to committee for reconciliation, the Senate Democrats will most likely vote to accept the House language regardless of whether Senate Republicans had been successful in stripping it out of their version:
Spring break checklist for Congress: A plane ticket back home, chocolate (or matzo) for the family and a war spending bill for the president.

The last item might need to wait.

Senate Democrats beat back Republican efforts Tuesday to strip a key provision of the $122 billion wartime spending package that sets goals for withdrawing troops from Iraq — a significant turnaround from just two weeks ago, when the GOP defeated a similar withdrawal measure. The Republican amendment was defeated, 50 to 48.

The Senate will take a final vote before the Easter recess Thursday but is not expected to reconcile its version with the House bill until both chambers are in session April 16 — one day after the Pentagon says it must get the emergency funding for troop operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in order to avoid cutbacks.

The White House doesn't intend to accept the IOU quietly, accusing the Democratic-controlled Congress of skipping town before its work is done.
But had the vote not been finalized it would be even worse. Then this bill would have lingered during recess and the debate and vote would have been sometime in mid-April with, most likely, the same result and the same veto. This actually works to the advantage of the administration because it moves that timeline up some. And although the Dems continue to delay (thus the WH calling for them to get their "work done") by not staying and sending a final bill to the President.

Yeah, it's inside baseball stuff, but don't be to impressed by the fact that the Dems got this passed. While the headlines are crowing about their victory, they know very well it's DOA in the White House. And they also know they're now going to have to fashion another spending bill unlike the one which will be vetoed. If the WH can shame the Dems into finishing this bill during recess, then it's even better (for what it's worth, I doubt that will happen).

The second time around, you can expect much stiffer opposition by Senate Republicans to limiting language and withdrawal timelines. And my guess is even if some remain in the final bill, the President will issue a signing statement saying much of it crosses the line and intrudes on his constitutional duties as Commander-in-Chief, thereby freeing him to ignore them.

Some thoughts on that here:
There is a good question whether Congress, constitutionally, can forbid the president — even using its spending power — from engaging the declared and active enemies of the United States wherever he can find them. Significantly, the Constitution requires the three branches of government to defend the United States. After all, providing for the common defense was one of its primary stated purposes.

Realizing, perhaps, that it is on thin constitutional ice, Congress appears willing to grant the power for the president to prosecute "counterterrorism" operations in Iraq, even while cutting off the funding for combat missions. Unfortunately for its proponents, this language — whatever its merits as a political gimmick designed to demonstrate Congress' anti-terrorism machismo — makes the problem even worse. It would amount to true congressional micromanagement — telling the president, for example, that he may attack an al-Qaeda training facility in Fallujah, but cannot engage the local militias operating alongside al-Qaeda.

This type of militarily nonsensical splitting-the-difference compromise, of course, is a perfect example of war by committee — and confirms the Framers' wisdom in vesting the power to direct America's armed forces in one individual, the president of the United States.
As for the deadline for funding? Well as mentioned yesterday, while DoD is saying mid April, there really is some more time available to them:
Gavin said a few days' difference would not impose an extraordinary burden. "The Pentagon has the authority within the law to transfer funds to support military action," he said.
That being said, ensuring this part of Act I is completed before the recess works in the favor of the Republicans because it removes some of the delay Sen. Reid was trying to build in by attempting to delay the vote in the Senate until after the recess. Having passed, it now goes to committee for reconciliation, the final step before it is sent to the White House (and a veto).
 
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the final step before it is sent to the White House (and a veto)
And when said veto is issued, the uproar from the media/Dems will be astounding. Watch for the moonbats to whip out such oldies but goodies such as Impeachment, "Subverting the will of the people" and of course "warmonger"

The NyTimes has already written their editorial damning Bush for continuing the war the heroic Dems have tried to end. It’s ready to run at the push of a button.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I’m not sure that Republicans have thought this through. With a POTUS with an 80% approval rating, you can win this fight. With a POTUS with a 35% approval rating — on an issue where his position is an unpopular one — I’m not sure this can hold. Dems have the upper hand, they can just keep passing funding bills and say "why the h*ll is POTUS vetoing funding for the troops." The response — because of timetables — probably doesn’t fly well given that most people on polls are favorably inclined toward a timetable — and remember, the MSM is going to spin this as a "timetable," not as a defeat. People who assume W can win this fight through veto haven’t paid much attention to the political climate, IMHO.

If I were him I’d just sign the bill and then ignore the unconstitutional timetables.
 
Written By: Sean
URL: http://www.myelectionanalysis.com
When I hear stuff like this, I am reminded of GWB signing (rather than vetoing) the McCain-Feingold bill because he just knew that the SCOTUS would overturn it (which in fact they did not). I am not sure passing the buck for killing a bad bill has worked very well in the past.
 
Written By: coyote
URL: http://www.coyoteblog.com
People who assume W can win this fight through veto haven’t paid much attention to the political climate, IMHO.
Why? He’s not getting re-elected.

H*ll, all they’d have to do is have an immigration rider that gives President Bush a big chunk of that he wants and he’d drop the veto pen back into the desk drawer.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
I’m not sure that Republicans have thought this through. With a POTUS with an 80% approval rating, you can win this fight. With a POTUS with a 35% approval rating — on an issue where his position is an unpopular one — I’m not sure this can hold
You want approval ratings? Congress has LOWER ratings than Bush.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
While the President may only have a 35% approval rating, Congress only has a 30% approval rating.

Given a few more weeks of operations in Iraq, and the +10 gain seen in the Pew poll on "situation in Iraq going well" may turn into a positive trend.

What will that do to politicians with their fingers in the air? Hopefully, they will do the right thing, and pass a relatively clean supplemental.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
Holy Haliburton
SEN. Dianne Feinstein has resigned from the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee. As previously and extensively reviewed in these pages, Feinstein was chairperson and ranking member of MILCON for six years, during which time she had a conflict of interest due to her husband Richard C. Blum’s ownership of two major defense contractors, who were awarded billions of dollars for military construction projects approved by Feinstein.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
McQ, no one wants you to be right more than I do. Trust me. I have an enormous stake in your take carrying the day and I will gladly buy you a beer or twelve to celebrate when that happens.

But admit it: you have juxtaposed four words that ought to make anyone rational observer’s head explode:

"Senate Republicans", "stiff", "opposition".

[waving arms]

Danger, danger Will Robinson! Does not compute! Does not compute!!!!

Aieeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Written By: Cassandra
URL: http://www.villainouscompany.com/vcblog/
Argh...

any rational observer’s

Obviously someone is not really awake yet
 
Written By: Cassandra
URL: http://www.villainouscompany.com/vcblog/
Hmmm.... what do you think the Congressional reaction to a signing statement would be, in light of having finally mustered enough votes for a binding vote to pull the troops?

Just axin’ :p
 
Written By: Cassandra
URL: http://www.villainouscompany.com/vcblog/
I hear you Cass ... so let’s see how it all plays out. And I’ll hold you to that beer if it works out.
Hmmm.... what do you think the Congressional reaction to a signing statement would be, in light of having finally mustered enough votes for a binding vote to pull the troops?
The usual "ignoring the will of the people" screech.

However, I do believe the use of the "I" word would become much more prevalent if he did so as well.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
THE SENATE has now joined the House of Representatives in setting a deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops in Iraq. Its date is a year from now — March 31, 2008. The House’s deadline is Aug. 31, 2008.

What is so important about Aug 31, 2008 ?

I know it’s just before the election, but why not Nov. 31, 2008 ? Think about for a second .. if there is a withdrawal of troops by Aug, just what kind of mess will there be in Iraq on election day, some 2 months later ?
A big mess. A huge mess. Death and destruction unlimited.

I got this feeling that somebody was so intent on the impact a withdrawal would have on the election, they forgot to factor in the "blowback" that would also affect the election.

A smarter move would be to make sure the withdrawal is ongoing and nearly complete by the election, thus the image of troops returning could be exploited politically. Instead, under the Aug scenario, the scenes we will see just days before the election will be general strife and most likely a full civil war in Baghdad and parts south. A virtual repeat of the Viet Nam experience when Congressional Democrats cut off funding and were blamed for the bad ending.

It’s easy to see why Congress doesn’t command the military.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
I just wonder if another debate towards the same end (ie binding withdrawal date) would be a tipping point for Senator Joe Lieberman???
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
I do believe the use of the "I" word would become much more prevalent if he did so as well.

Yeah, that’s what I think, too. I tried to post a snarky "Can you say Chimpeachment boys and girls???" comment as "Mr. Rogers" but your Preview feature reverts me back to my old self when I hit publish.

Very inconvenient - it forces me to think ahead - something which is against my religion early in the morning before I’ve had my second cup of coffee :p

 
Written By: Cassandra
URL: http://www.villainouscompany.com/vcblog/

 
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