Caught between the rock that is George Bush and the hard place of troops on the ground in Iraq, the Dems are apparently going to blink:
WASHINGTON - In grudging concessions to President Bush, Democrats intend to draft an Iraq war-funding bill without a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and shorn of billions of dollars in spending on domestic programs, officials said Monday.
The legislation would include the first federal minimum wage increase in more than a decade, a top priority for the Democrats who took control of Congress in January, the officials added.... Democratic officials stressed the legislation was subject to change. They spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss provisions before a planned presentation to members of the party's rank and file later in the day.
All of the details haven't been released yet, pending meetings in the Dem caucus in the House to discuss the bill, so changes could still be made. Will those changes include real timelines? Seems pretty unlikely, since the leadership says they want a bill that won't be vetoed.
So the fight is shunted off down the road a few months, to when we're supposed to be seeing that mythical September when all the Republicans decide to jump ship. On this, I'm in complete agreement with Atrios: we won't see a movement among Republicans for withdrawal, they're in it too deep. They won't back down.
So what can Congress do? Stick to the Feingold-Reid, Iraq Study Group framework. No more funding after March 31, 2008. Use the intransigence of Bush and the GOP against them. If Bush won't end this war, end it for him.
Update: This isn't the end of the fight, just so everyone is clear on that. This is funding for the remaining of the fiscal year, probably not beyond, again, September. There are still defense bills coming up to work on. What that means is building on the 29 votes we got in the Senate, and the 171 in the House for withdrawal. Keep the pressure on.
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