Magazine article Tikkun

Congress Enables More Years of War

Magazine article Tikkun

Congress Enables More Years of War

Article excerpt

While the media's attention was focused on the presidential election primaries, the Iraq war not only continued but was once again refunded by the Democratic Congress that had been elected to end it. The mechanism was the same old trick that had been refined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her comrades Rahm Emanuel and Stenny Hoyer.

The House votes for a budget package that has tens of billions of dollars to continue funding the war in Iraq, other elements that give liberal Congresspeople some programs for the most oppressed, and a stipulation that the war monies should be used to help end the conflict and bring the troops home by a certain date. The bill is then sent to the Senate, where it is whittled down considerably and its restraints on the war are largely undone. Then it goes to the president who finds the remaining restraints too fierce and hence vetoes the whole package and calls on the Congress to send him a bill he can sign, else they will be abandoning "the troops."

At this point, it's all in the hands of the Speaker. She can, as she has done for other issues, simply say: "No, there will be no bill till the president accepts our requirements." In that case, there's little the President can do. All funding bills must originate in the House of Representatives according to the U.S. Constitution. But if the Speaker puts the bill back on the floor of the House, now largely rid of all the positive elements restricting how and how long the Iraq war should continue, then the Republicans can ally with a small section of conservative prowar Democrats of the lieberman style and provide a majority for the funding of it. …

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