Sunday, January 28, 2007

Will this Stiffen the Spine of Congress?

There's a lot of non-binding resolutions out there, but the real battle will come when the so-called emergency appropriations bill comes along in a few weeks. That's when Congress can put filibuster- and veto-proof restrictions on this war that Bush and war-supporters will have to agree to in order to get any more funding for the rest of this fiscal year.

Will Jane Harman and the rest of congress (Republicans too) have the toughness to stand up for the military personnel who're paying the price for no good reason and for the rest of America? After the political posturing to go "on record" as opposing Bush's plan is over, will these folks actually use the real tools at Congress' disposal to do the right thing for this country?

Hopefully the latest Newsweek poll gets rid of some of their qualms that they'll suffer from right-wing accusations that they're somehow endangering the troops by forcing an end to this war:
The president’s approval ratings are at their lowest point in the poll’s history—30 percent—and more than half the country (58 percent) say they wish the Bush presidency were simply over, a sentiment that is almost unanimous among Democrats (86 percent), and is shared by a clear majority (59 percent) of independents and even one in five (21 percent) Republicans. Half (49 percent) of all registered voters would rather see a Democrat elected president in 2008, compared to just 28 percent who’d prefer the GOP to remain in the White House.

Public fatigue over the war in the Iraq is not reflected solely in the president’s numbers, however. Congress is criticized by nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of Americans for not being assertive enough in challenging the Bush administration’s conduct of the war. Even a third (31 percent) of rank-and-file Republicans say the previous Congress, controlled by their party, didn’t do enough to challenge the administration on the war.

The Democratic leadership will need to really step up and take decisive action. Is it going to get the 100% support of all Democrats? No, and frankly, if it did, it would be so watered down as to accomplish nothing.

Jane Harman isn't part of the leadership, but she's got influence, and is not shy to grabbing the spotlight on national security issues. When she speaks up, it should be to help the effort to reassert Congress' role as a co-equal branch of government, not to re-emphasize Bush's bogus arguments.

Her going on MSNBC and not being ready to say clearly that Congress has the authority to make appropriations decisions on funding the war was a real step backwards. Even worse, her statement about whether Congress has the power to reduce Iraq war funding --
I think there are constitutional issues. He is the Commander in Chief. Ah, Congress did vote for a resolution to authorize the action in Iraq.

-- actually suggested it didn't have the power, and she's not provided any clarification since.

Since the "real action" on the supplemental appropriations bill isn't going to have for a couple weeks at least (so I hear), Rep. Harman should have ample time to correct her misleading statement at the very least.

That's really not asking for too much, is it?


Blogger Cassandra Complex said...

thanks for your site. i'm in dc from la. i came to march with ufpj and stayed to lobby. we'll meet with jh in the morning and your blog helped me to bone up on the issues.

although we're biggest fans of hr508, we're pushing for defunding since that seems more effective (signing-statement proof).

12:07 AM  
Blogger PeterB said...

Glad to hear it. Serious props to you for going to DC and lobbying for peace. It would be interesting to hear how things go. Please come on back and let us know!

12:59 AM  

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