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Dems abandon war authority provision

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070312/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_iraq;_ylt=Anw1bJV1XJ8dQXN4SJgnjk7MWM0F Dems abandon war authority provision By DAVID ESPO and MATTHEW
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 12, 2007

      Dems abandon war authority provision

      By DAVID ESPO and MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press
      Writers 4 minutes ago

      WASHINGTON - Top House Democrats retreated Monday from
      an attempt to limit President Bush's authority for
      taking military action against Iran as the leadership
      concentrated on a looming confrontation with the White
      House over the
      Iraq war.

      Officials said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting
      record) and other members of the leadership had
      decided to strip from a major military spending bill a
      requirement for Bush to gain approval from Congress
      before moving against Iran.

      Conservative Democrats as well as lawmakers concerned
      about the possible impact on Israel had argued for the
      change in strategy.

      The developments occurred as Democrats pointed toward
      an initial test vote in the House Appropriations
      Committee on Thursday on the overall bill, which would
      require the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq
      by Sept. 1, 2008, if not earlier. The measure also
      provides nearly $100 billion to pay for fighting in
      Iraq and Afghanistan.

      The White House has issued a veto threat against the
      measure, and Vice President Dick Cheney attacked its
      supporters in a speech, declaring they "are telling
      the enemy simply to watch the clock and wait us out."

      Top Democrats disagreed sharply.

      Pelosi issued a written statement that said the vice
      president's remarks prove that "the administration's
      answer to continuing violence in Iraq is more troops
      and more treasure from the American people."

      Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (news, bio, voting
      record), D-Nev., said in a statement that America was
      less safe today because of the war. The president
      "must change course, and it's time for the Senate to
      demand he do it," he added.

      The Iran-related proposal stemmed from a desire to
      make sure Bush did not launch an attack without going
      to Congress for approval, but drew opposition from
      numerous members of the rank and file in a series of
      closed-door sessions last week.

      Rep. Shelley Berkley (news, bio, voting record),
      D-Nev., said in an interview there is widespread fear
      in Israel about Iran, which is believed to be seeking
      nuclear weapons and has expressed unremitting
      hostility about the Jewish state.

      "It would take away perhaps the most important
      negotiating tool that the U.S. has when it comes to
      Iran," she said of the now-abandoned provision.

      "I didn't think it was a very wise idea to take things
      off the table if you're trying to get people to modify
      their behavior and normalize it in a civilized way,"
      said Rep. Gary Ackerman (news, bio, voting record) of
      New York.

      Several officials said there was widespread opposition
      to the proposal at a closed-door meeting last week of
      conservative and moderate Democrats, who said they
      feared tying the hands of the administration when
      dealing with an unpredictable and potentially hostile
      regime in Tehran.

      Public opinion has swung the way of Democrats on the
      issue of the war. More than six in 10 Americans think
      the conflict was a mistake — the largest number yet
      found in AP-Ipsos polling.

      But Democrats have struggled to find a compromise that
      can satisfy both liberals who oppose any funding for
      the military effort and conservatives who do not want
      to unduly restrict the commander in chief.

      "This supplemental should be about supporting the
      troops and providing what they need," said Rep. Dan
      Boren (news, bio, voting record), D-Okla., on Monday
      upon returning from a trip to Iraq. Boren said he
      plans to oppose any legislation setting a clear
      deadline for troops to leave.

      In his speech, Cheney chided lawmakers who are
      pressing for tougher action on Iran to oppose the
      president on the Iraq War.

      "It is simply not consistent for anyone to demand
      aggressive action against the menace posed by the
      Iranian regime while at the same time acquiescing in a
      retreat from Iraq that would leave our worst enemies
      dramatically emboldened and Israel's best friend, the
      United States, dangerously weakened," he said.
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