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Dems eye limiting '02 war authorization

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070218/ap_on_go_co/us_iraq;_ylt=AtSNiUGbJ9CwOgZjCHM9PPSs0NUE Dems eye limiting 02 war authorization By HOPE YEN, Associated Press
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 18, 2007
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      Dems eye limiting '02 war authorization

      By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer 48 minutes ago

      WASHINGTON - Senate Democrats pledged renewed efforts
      Sunday to curtail the Iraq war, suggesting they will
      seek to limit a 2002 measure authorizing President
      Bush's use of force against Saddam Hussein.

      The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations
      Committee said the proposal had little chance of
      succeeding. "I think the president would veto it and
      the veto would be upheld," said Sen. Richard Lugar
      (news, bio, voting record) of Indiana.

      A day after Republicans foiled a Democratic bid to
      repudiate Bush's deployment of 21,500 additional
      combat troops to Iraq, Senate Democrats declined to
      embrace measures — being advanced in the House — that
      would attach conditions to additional funding for

      Sen. Carl Levin (news, bio, voting record), who chairs
      the Armed Services Committee, said Democratic senators
      would probably seek to capitalize on wavering
      Republicans to limit the "wide-open authorization"
      Congress gave Bush in 2002.

      "We will be looking at a modification of that
      authorization in order to limit the mission of
      American troops to a support mission instead of a
      combat mission, and that is very different from
      cutting off funds," said Levin, D-Mich.

      Sen. Joe Biden, a 2008 presidential candidate who
      leads the foreign relations panel, said the 2002
      authorization should be repealed to restate the
      president's authority and clarify the mission of U.S.
      troops in Iraq.

      "I've been working with some of my colleagues to try
      to convince them that that's the way to go ... make it
      clear that the purpose that he has troops in there is
      to, in fact, protect against al-Qaida gaining chunks
      of territory, training the Iraqi forces, force
      protection and for our forces," said Biden, D-Del.

      The Democratic-controlled Senate failed to force
      debate on a nonbinding resolution opposing the troop
      buildup. The 56-34 vote fell four short of the 60
      needed, but Democrats quickly claimed victory, noting
      that a majority of senators — seven of them
      Republicans — effectively voted against the

      After a week of contentious debate in Congress, the
      White House scoffed at Senate Majority Leader Harry
      Reid (news, bio, voting record)'s claim that the
      U.S.-led invasion in March 2003 has become "the worst
      foreign policy mistake" in U.S. history.

      "The war is tough, but the solution is not to get
      out," press secretary Tony Snow said. "It is to
      provide the kinds of resources and reinforcements our
      forces need to get the job done, and at the same time
      say to the Iraqis `You guys got to step up.'"

      Snow said it was important to remove Saddam from power
      and noted that a majority of senators voted in 2002 to
      authorize force in Iraq.

      He said Bush should not see votes in Congress in
      opposition of his new Iraqi strategy as a rebuke. "The
      strategy has barely had a chance to begin working,"
      Snow said.

      The House passed a nonbinding resolution Friday that
      rejected the president's 21,500-troop buildup in Iraq.
      The vote put Bush on the defensive going into a far
      more consequential confrontation over paying for the

      House Democrats have said they will attempt to place
      restrictions on Bush's request for an additional $93
      billion for the military in an effort to make it
      impossible for him to deploy all 21,500 additional

      Levin said limiting the 2002 war authorization would
      sidestep constitutional questions. Some legal experts
      have said that restricting money or attaching
      conditions could arguably encroach on Bush's powers as
      commander in chief to control tactics and operations.

      "One thought is that we should limit the mission to a
      support mission — in other words, an anti-terrorist
      mission to go after al-Qaida in Iraq, to support and
      train the Iraqi army, to protect our own diplomatic
      personnel and other personnel in Iraq," Levin said.

      Sen. Jack Reed (news, bio, voting record), D-R.I.,
      agreed. Senate Democrats are "sitting down already ...
      and trying to work out a new approach," he said.

      Snow said the president understands the importance of
      debate about the war on Capitol Hill and understands
      lawmakers' anxiety about the war.

      "What I would say to members of Congress is: Calm down
      and take a look at what's going on, and ask yourself a
      simple question: If you support the troops, would you
      deny them the reinforcements they think are necessary
      to complete the mission?'"

      Levin was on "Fox News Sunday," Reed spoke on NBC's
      "Meet the Press," Snow and Reid appeared on CNN's
      "Late Edition," and Biden and Lugar were interviewed
      on "Face the Nation" on CBS.
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