Iraq vote hangs by thread

Facing their first tight vote of the 110th Congress, House Democratic leaders yesterday were scrambling to convince rank-and-file members to back their carefully crafted war-funding legislation.

At least eight Democrats are planning to vote “no” on the Iraq supplemental, scheduled for a Thursday vote. Two more are “leaning no.” Meanwhile, there are over three dozen Democrats who are undecided, according to a survey conducted by The Hill.


The leadership can lose only 15 votes if Republicans stick together, giving leaders little room as they seek to balance the demands of liberals who want a fast withdrawal with those of conservative Democrats, who are wary of setting any kind of timetable for commanders in the field to follow.

Leadership aides say they are working hard to gain those votes.

“It’s crunch time,” said Kristie Greco, spokeswoman for House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.). “The vote last week in the Appropriations Committee was a strong indication of the momentum of this legislation, and we’re building on that.”
While 17 House Republicans voted against President Bush’s troop surge, fewer than 10 are expected to vote for the pending appropriations measure. Republicans who are possible defectors include Reps. Wayne Gilchrest (Md.) and Walter Jones (N.C.).

Democratic leaders got a huge boost yesterday when decided to support the bill after seeking input from their leaders in a blast e-mail.

 Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), who is a Ways and Means subcommittee chairman, said during a speech in his district over the weekend that he plans to vote no along with a group of 20 other Democrats, according to The Argus newspaper of Fremont, Calif.

“The best way to keep [the troops] safe is to bring them home,” Stark said. “It’s difficult to oppose [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). She’s a great leader and working wonders to get this passed, but some things I can’t vote for.”

He added that if the resolution fails, “It won’t look good, like the Democrats can’t get their act together, but that’s OK. We can write a better bill.”

Other lawmakers from Pelosi’s state of California are planning to buck leadership on the funding measure, including Reps. Barbara Lee, Lynn Woolsey, and perhaps Maxine Waters.

There’s been no decision on what amendments, if any, will be allowed on the floor. Last week, Republicans argued in favor of allowing amendments, noting that appropriations bills are usually open to amendments and that the bill wouldn’t just pay for government operations but makes a substantial policy statement.

The Rules Committee is expected to meet tomorrow, but no decision has been made on whether amendments will be  allowed.

“That’s still to be determined,” said committee spokesman John Santore. “People are waiting to see what amendments will be offered.”

Both parties used yesterday’s fourth anniversary of the 2003 Iraq invasion to make their policy points.

Making a statement in the Roosevelt Room, President Bush criticized the Democrats’ plan.

“They have a responsibility to pass a clean bill that does not use funding for our troops as leverage to get special interest spending for their districts,” Bush said. “And they have a responsibility to get this bill to my desk without strings and without delay.”

White House spokesman Tony Snow later added: “What he’s saying is that if they attach strings, he will veto it.”

Democrats stressed their point that the president and his war plans have lost the confidence of the country.

“The American people have lost confidence in President Bush’s plan for a war without end in Iraq. That failed approach has been rejected by the voters in our nation, and it will be rejected by the Congress,” Pelosi said.
Heidi Bruggink and Stacey Pistritto contributed to this report. 

Progressives and Blue Dogs weigh in on war-funding bill

Yes or leaning yes
Neil Abercrombie (Hawaii)
Michael Arcuri (N.Y.)
Melissa Bean (Ill.)
Nancy Boyda (Kan.)
Dennis Cardoza (Calif.)
Peter DeFazio (Ore.)
Chet Edwards (Texas)
Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandNewsom endorses Kamala Harris for president Trump tweets video mocking Dems not cheering during State of the Union Omar: Next president should declare national emergency on climate change ‘on day 1’ MORE (N.Y.)
Phil Hare (Ill.)
Tim Mahoney (Fla.) (leaning yes)
Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoTrump tweets video mocking Dems not cheering during State of the Union New battle lines in war over Trump’s judicial picks Trump divides Democrats with warning of creeping socialism MORE (Hawaii) (leaning yes)
Steve Kagen (Wis.)
Tom Lantos (Calif.)
John Larson (Conn.)
Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.)
George Miller (Calif.)
Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyHouse passes bill to end US support for Saudi war in Yemen This week: Border deal remains elusive as shutdown looms Border talks stall as another shutdown looms MORE (Conn.)
Patrick Murphy (Pa.)
Donald Payne (N.J.)
John Salazar (Colo.)
Jan Schakowsky (Ill.)
David Scott (Ga.)
Joe Sestak (Pa.)
Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.)
Tim Walz (Minn.)
Charlie Wilson (Ohio)

No or leaning no
Dan Boren (Okla.) (leaning no)
Danny Davis (Ill.) (leaning no)
Keith Ellison (Minn.) (leaning no)
Dennis Kucinich (Ohio)
Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeFive takeaways from acting AG's fiery House hearing Democrat to acting AG: 'We are not joking here' Whitaker takes grilling from House lawmakers MORE (Texas)
Barbara Lee (Calif.)*
John Lewis (Ga.)
Jim Marshall (Ga.)
Pete Stark (Calif.)
Edolphus Towns (N.Y.)
Lynn Woolsey (Calif.)*

Undecided/no comment
Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinDems offer smaller step toward ‘Medicare for all' Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Powerful House committee turns to drug pricing | Utah governor defies voters on Medicaid expansion | Dems want answers on controversial new opioid Why does the bankruptcy code discriminate against disabled veterans? MORE (Wis.)
John BarrowJohn Jenkins BarrowRepublican wins Georgia secretary of state runoff to replace Kemp The most important runoff election is one you probably never heard of Our democracy can’t afford to cut legal aid services from the budget MORE (Ga.)
Sanford Bishop Jr.Sanford Dixon BishopCBC dislikes Jarrett's message Administration courts CBC on Syria With eye on ending Hill gridlock, 81 lawmakers rally to back bipartisan bills MORE (Ga.)
Leonard Boswell (Iowa)
Chris Carney (Pa.)
Jim Cooper (Tenn.)
Lacy Clay (Mo.)
Steve Cohen (Tenn.)*
Elijah Cummings (Md.)
Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyOvernight Energy: Trump taps ex-oil lobbyist Bernhardt to lead Interior | Bernhardt slams Obama officials for agency's ethics issues | Head of major green group steps down Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary EPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks MORE (Ind.)
Brad Ellsworth (Ind.)
Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.)*
John Hall (N.Y.)
Stephanie Herseth (S.D.)
Baron Hill (Ind.)
Rush Holt (N.J.)
Hank Johnson (Ga.)
Ron KindRonald (Ron) James KindSteel lobby's PR blitz can't paper over damaging effects of tariffs Congress should stop tariff power grab, bring balance to US trade policy Ocasio-Cortez sparks debate with talk of 70 percent marginal rate MORE (Wis.)
Nick Lampson (Texas)
Jim MathesonJames (Jim) David MathesonTrump EPA eases standards for coal ash disposal Utah redistricting reform measure likely to qualify for ballot Trump's budget targets affordable, reliable power MORE (Utah)
Doris Matsui (Calif.)
James McGovern (Mass.)
Jerry McNerney (Calif.)
Gwen MooreGwen Sophia MooreDems hit GOP on pre-existing conditions at panel's first policy hearing Democratic rep announces she has cancer while defending ObamaCare Ten Dem lawmakers added to House Ways and Means Committee MORE (Wis.)
Jim Oberstar (Minn.)
Collin Peterson (Minn.)
Bobby Rush (Ill.)
Mike Ross (Ark.)
Linda Sanchez (Calif.)
Heath Shuler (N.C.)
Hilda Solis (Calif.)
Zack Space (Ohio)
Gene Taylor (Miss.)
Maxine Waters (Calif.)*
Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchBipartisan House group heads to Camp David retreat Dems unveil bill for Medicare to negotiate drug prices GOP announces members who will serve on House intel panel MORE (Vt.)

* Scheduled to attend anti-war rally tomorrow on Capitol Hill

Culled from media accounts and interviews with lawmakers and aides