Mandate, Referendum, What-Ever

Posted: April 28, 2008 in Politics

House Democrats work on huge Iraq money bill

Zachary Coile, Chronicle Washington Bureau

House Democratic leaders are putting together the largest Iraq war spending bill yet, a measure that is expected to fund the war through the end of the Bush presidency and for nearly six months into the next president’s term.

The bill, which could be unveiled as early as this week, signals that Democrats are resigned to the fact they can’t change course in Iraq in the final months of President Bush’s term. Instead, the party is pinning its hopes of ending the war on winning the White House in November.

Bay Area lawmakers, who represent perhaps the most anti-war part of the country, acknowledge the bill will anger many voters back home.

“It’s going to be a tough sell to convince people in my district that funding the war for six months into the new president’s term is the way to end the war,” said Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, a leader of the Out of Iraq Caucus who plans to oppose the funding. “It sounds like we are paying for something we don’t want.”

The bill is expected to provide $108 billion that the White House has requested for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lawmakers who are drafting it say it also will include a so-called bridge fund of $70 billion to give the new president several months of breathing room before having to ask Congress for more money.

The debate is shaping up as a key test for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The San Francisco Democrat, who opposed the war from the start, faces fierce criticism from the anti-war left for refusing to cut off funding for the war. She’s trying to hold together a caucus split between anti-war lawmakers, who’d prefer a showdown with the White House, and conservative Democrats, who believe cutting off the war funding would make the party look weak on national security and put its majority at risk. (more…)

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