Yup. It's that time again.
Bush wants another $108 billion for Iraq, and he's threatening to veto any bill that either comes in higher than that amount, or attempts to impose any restrictions on how the occupation is conducted.
Why would he threaten to veto any bill with more than $108 billion in it?
Well, that depends on why it's there. For instance, if it's money that's added on to pay the educational benefits we promised the volunteers who joined our Armed Forces and fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, well then, it's gonna get vetoed.
When asked about the popular plan to increase education benefits for troops returning from Iraq, however, Bush held firm.
"I made my position very clear to Congress and I will not accept a supplemental over $108 billion or a supplemental that micromanages the war, ties the hands of our commanders," Bush said. "We will work with Congress on these veterans' benefits .... But the $108 billion is $108 billion."
F you, soldier!
And why would those troop "supportin'" Republicans stand for that? Because Republicans hate pork! Unless you prevent them from adding it, that is.
Republicans are howling over what appears to be Nancy Pelosi’s plan to bypass the House Appropriations Committee on the upcoming Iraq war supplemental, complaining that the move will be the beginning of the end of the usual appropriations process and will further consolidate power in the hands of a speaker who already has a lot of it.
Oh noes! The Speaker has power! Well, elections have consequences, as Republicans used to say.
Yes, the Democratic leadership is considering moving the Iraq appropriations bill directly to the House floor rather than sending it through the committee process. That could short circuit a lot of nonsense, like Jerry Lewis's crybaby antics over the inclusion by Democrats of provisions requiring the president to sign waivers when he rotates untrained, unrested, and unarmored troops back into combat. Or responsible grown-up Bill Young's shenanigans in offering a fake withdrawal amendment, which I'm sure was oh-so-hilarious to the troops he can't stop saying he supports.
But the fact is, they haven't decided yet whether they're going to use this procedure or not. Neither do we know for sure whether it's an effort to clamp down on earmarks, or an effort to give shelter to preferred earmarks.
Either way, though, this was kind of hilarious in a "What planet have you been on?" kind of way:
Adds Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), an Appropriations Committee member: "For anyone who cares about the institution, this goes against the democratic process. Someone who is confident of her position would have no problem going through regular order."
Poor Mikey! You'd almost think he cared about the institution. Not that he cared when Bush took a giant crap on it and instructed "Attorney General" Michael Mukasey to blow off the institution's subpoenas and contempt of Congress citations. Nope. Couldn't be bothered!
But there's still one more possible motivating factor, and that's getting this damned bill rammed through with as few stops -- and therefore as few opportunities for examination and/or protest -- as possible.
Why do that? Here's one sentence with two possible reasons. Here's number one:
House Democratic leaders are putting together the largest Iraq war spending bill yet...
Here's the second:
...a measure that is expected to fund the war through the end of the Bush presidency and for nearly six months into the next president's term.
Yeah, that kinda sucks, huh? Largest Iraq war spending bill yet. From the Democrats elected in 2006 to end the war. D'oh!
And knowing that there's a decent chance of electing a Democratic president in 2008 to end the war (because logic hasn't ever applied to American elections, and we're not about to start now), Congressional Democrats don't want him or her to have to sully up the honeymoon with any untoward requests. Like, say, billions more dollars for the war everyone says they're ending.
So Bush wants his $108 billion, and he wants it to the penny. If Dems try to smooth the next president's transition into dealing with Iraq, he'll veto the bill -- yet another way to hold the troops hostage to his insane agenda, even while he's out of office. How's that for "reaching across the aisle?" He's reaching across to smack the next president in the face... from beyond the political grave.
This is the president who insists that Congress is not permitted to tie his hands in dealing with Iraq, but who now reserves the right to tie the hands of the next president and the next Congress. And not even to tie them to his Iraq policy. Just to the headaches that come with cleaning up his mess, no matter what that may mean.
George W. Bush truly does hate America.