According to one senior Democratic lawmaker, there’s a growing discomfort among pro-defense Democrats about linking a $50 billion Iraq measure to troop withdrawal.
“We have to come off this lack of funding for the military operations,” the lawmaker said. “We have to continue the funding. We don’t want to look like we’re against troop funding. ... We should separate the funding discussion from the rest of the war.”
Of course, that is due to now acknowledged progress in Iraq in large part because of the surge and the implementation of the COIN doctrine.
But there are the Netroots and the extreme left to contend with if they continue such funding:
The possible conditions for troop funding include anti-torture rules and benchmarks for Iraqi political reconciliation, language sure to upset an impatient Democratic anti-war base that wants immediate troop withdrawals.
Yeah, good luck with those. The political reality hasn't changed at all in the Senate, and, if I were to guess, has probably hardened:
A troop withdrawal funding bill received 53 votes last month in the Senate, seven short of the 60 needed to break a filibuster.
So Democrats are searching for something that asserts congressional power but doesn’t necessarily have a mandated troop withdrawal.
“I am advocating as strong a statement as we can get 60 votes for,” said Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.).
Or said another way - advantage administration. Then add this little kicker into the mix:
Additionally, lawmakers who represent areas with large military bases fear that layoff notices could go out to civilian military employees just a week before Christmas if the Pentagon has to pull money from other accounts to pay for the war.
“The turmoil caused by shuffling the money is making some people uncomfortable,” said Rep. Adam Putnam of Florida, chairman of the House Republican Conference.
And, of course, it is the Dems who will receive any blame such layoffs would bring. Every day they delay gives the administration and Republicans a stronger hand.