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November 13, 2007

Harry Reid Threatens To Withhold Funding For Iraqi Servicemen

Nice.

Though they threaten this all the time, they just might be serious. After all, they have to be mindful of public opinion whatever the hell it is Glenn Greenwald is on about at the moment.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that Democrats won't approve more money for the Iraq war this year unless President Bush agrees to begin bringing troops home.

By the end of the week, the House and Senate planned to vote on a $50 billion measure for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill would require Bush to initiate troop withdrawals immediately with the goal of ending combat by December 2008.

If Bush vetoes the bill, "then the president won't get his $50 billion," Reid, D-Nev., told reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., made a similar statement last week in a closed-door caucus meeting.

Their remarks reflect a new Democratic strategy on the war: Force Bush to accept a timetable for troop withdrawals, or turn Pentagon accounting processes into a bureaucratic nightmare.

If Democrats refuse to send Bush the $50 billion, the military would have to drain its annual budget to keep the wars afloat. Last week, Congress approved a $471 billion budget for the military that pays mostly for non-war related projects, such as depot maintenance and weapons development.

The tactic stops short of blocking money outright from being used on the war, an approach that has divided Democrats and fueled Republican criticism that Democrats are eager to abandon the troops. But forcing the Pentagon into a painful budget dance to pay for the wars spares Democrats from having to write a blank check on the unpopular war.

"We will and we must pay for whatever cost to protect the American people," said House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. "But tragically, unfortunately, incredibly, the war is not making us safer."


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