A Bill That Could End the War

Just days ago no one knew just how the Democratic leadership could possibly pull off another contortionist act to approve war spending without a withdrawal date and keep the liberals in line. But, mystery solved — the pretzel is beginning to take shape. Democrats now plan to pass a bill in the House Thursday that will fund the war without the funds for spinach farmers, et al., that the Republicans called pork and the Democrats deemed necessary emergency spending. They do so by placing a date on political progress in Iraq — after 90 days, no progress, no money. The “fenced” funding, which is any money for operations after the end of August, would have to be approved by a vote on or around July 13 affirming progress.

Alas — President Bush would veto such a plan, according to what spokesman Tony Snow said today. A Pentagon spokesman said the plan would have a “devastating” effect on the Department of Defense. But Democrats, who feel they have their fingers wrapped around the GOP throat, will proceed as planned. Since House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) opened the floodgates with his comments on FOX News Sunday, Republicans are peeling off in droves from the rhetorical reservation about the Plan B they expect to see in September if Gen. Petraeus reports the surge is not succeeding.

One such member is Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.), who survived a tough race while neighboring Republicans were defeated in Pennsylvania. Yesterday he said this about the plan: “Do we need to put things out in front of the Iraqi government that makes them realize they have to do certain things to continue the support of the American people? Absolutely.”

Should the Iraqis fail to meet the benchmarks Congress requires, according to the House plan, the Congress could vote to cut off funds in July. If the vote to approve the “fenced” money goes down in July, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said yesterday, “money could then be used within 180 days and redeployment would have to start.” He added, “So this is not ‘get out tomorrow.’”
No, but it is a bill that could end the war.