Friday, January 19, 2007

Blue Dog Coalition Proposal on Iraq Budgeting

I called Harman's office to see if Jane Harman's still undecided on taking meaningful action to counter Bush's escalation of the Iraq war. I was told by Harman’s office to look to the Blue Dog Coalition website for information about an announcement about the Iraq War earlier today (Harman's a Blue Dog).

The Blue Dog Dems website is currently under construction, so I doubt it’ll show up there. I googled “blue-dog iraq” and there's nothing official I can find, just what’s been leaked so far to the Christian Broadcast Network (”Exclusive: Blue Dogs Take Stand on Iraq") and the DC local Fox affiliate (This isn't any momentous proposal of course, but of all the outlets to give this story to, why would they pick these guys?)

Anyways, from the articles:

According to sources on Capitol Hill the Blue Dogs want to see some fiscal responsibility when it comes to the war. The resolution is expected to focus on accountability and oversight. The growing group of moderate Democrats want to send a message to President Bush. Their message: the free ride is over, no blank check anymore from Congress.

To take the stand two-thirds of the group had to agree on the policy sand and vote on it before bringing it before the public and Congress.

Politically, the 44 members uniting on the issue is enough to get the President's attention because of the sheer power of their number of votes. Their united vote could tie up funding bills in Congress.

Another effort in the House was announced Friday, coming from the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition of Democrats. One portion of the group's plan focuses on limiting the president's budget authority through more scrutiny. Bush's preference for funding has been through the "emergency supplemental" process, which is outside the normal budget process. Members said the resolution will be introduced next week.

"Most of the costs of the Korean and Vietnam wars were on budget. The ongoing Iraq war costs must be too," said Blue Dog member Rep. Jane Harman of California.

What about this year's supplemental request? Are they going to take it at face value? Will they prove unwilling to chop it down when the administration fails to provide information to determine if it's really needed?

Bush knows that any real threats congress will make against the administration for refusing to disclose information are entirely empty, so they are essentially relying on him to give up this information out of the goodness of his heart. Fat chance.

Same thing goes for their oversight hearings they appear to think is some panacea.

And don't think for a second that Republicans in Congress or Bush will ever propose programs to cut in the budget to fund Iraq War costs. They will simply say the war funding is necessary and force Democrats to defund the war if they dare.

Is this Blue Dog plan an elaborate scheme to try to wind down the war without ever being accused of being "against the troops"? If so that's really sad because 1) their plan won't help stop this war and 2) they will be accused of being anti-troops if they oppose Bush, no matter what they do.


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