Bush invites ‘irresponsible’ Democrats to White House

President Bush Tuesday invited congressional leaders to the White House to discuss funding for the troops in Iraq, but also harshly criticized Democrats for playing politics with the funds.

However, Bush has indicated that he will not budge from his position of signing only a supplemental appropriations bill with no strings attached.

“We can discuss the way forward on a bill that is a clean bill, a bill that funds our troops without artificial timetables for withdrawal and without handcuffing our generals on the ground,” Bush said when talking about his invitation to congressional leaders for next week.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was quick to rebuke Bush’s proposal.

“The president is inviting us down to the White House with preconditions,” Reid told reporters. “That’s not the way things should operate.”

The senator said Bush must realize that he has to negotiate with a Congress that will not “rubber-stamp” his plans.

“We are an independent branch of this government, and by our Constitution we have equal say that he has,” Reid stated. “And he’s got to listen to us. Because we are speaking for the American people; he isn’t.”

The president had strong words for Democrats, who want to attach withdrawal timetables to the funding bill. Bush, who has vowed to veto any such attempt, said the move only results in delaying funding for the troops.

“We are at war,” Bush said at an address in Fairfax, Va. “It is irresponsible for the Democratic leadership in Congress to delay for months on end while our troops in combat are waiting for the funds they need to succeed.”