WASHINGTON-- Democratic presidential primary rivals have to confront the reality of an imperfect Iraq war bill. Democrats control Congress but don't have a veto-proof majority. The Iraq war bill up for a vote will not have the timetable Democrats demanded for pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq. Democrats on the left are outraged that Democrats compromised and will not force a second veto by President Bush of a funding bill.
It's not known yet what Democratic frontrunners Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) will do.
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.) will vote no. Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) would oppose the bill if he were in the Senate.
Dodd went after Obama and Clinton by name in a new television spot dealing with the war and the environment. "Chris Dodd has been challenging the other candidates to support the Feingold-Reid-Dodd amendment to end our involvement in Iraq's civil war. It worked. Now Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have changed their positions to follow Chris Dodd," the spot says, referring to legislation cutting off funds for the Iraq war.
Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) will vote yes.
BIDEN Issues Statement on Iraq Supplemental Bill
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., (D-DE) issued the following statement today:
“Earlier this month, Congress sent the President an emergency spending bill for Iraq. It provided every dollar our troops need and the President requested – and then some. It also provided the American people a plan to bring this war to a responsible end. In vetoing the bill, the President denied our troops the funding they need, and the American people the plan they want.
Senator and Presidential candidate Chris Dodd today released the following statement on the latest Iraq supplemental bill:
"This war has gone on longer than World War II and there is no end in sight. Yet we are less secure and more isolated than before. We have lost 3,400 patriotic Americans and shattered our standing in the world. We are spending $2 billion a week - $8 billion a month - and are now caught in the middle of a civil war. Still, this President wants more of the same and this bill would give him his wish.
"I cannot and will not simply give this President another blank check.
"Half-measures and equivocations are not going to change our course in Iraq. If we are serious about ending the war, Congress must stand up to this President's failed policy now - with clarity and conviction.
"As the debate on the war continues, I will continue to fight for a firm deadline that is tied to funding which will allow for a responsible redeployment of U.S. combat troops in Iraq - because that's the only way to responsibly bring this war to a conclusion.
"I hope my colleagues would do the same."
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EDWARDS STATEMENT ON LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN CONGRESS CONCERNING IRAQ WAR FUNDING BILL
Chapel Hill, North Carolina – Senator John Edwards released the following statement today about the latest congressional developments on a bill to fund the war in Iraq.
"The so-called compromise under discussion in Congress that would give the president another blank check to continue his failed war is a serious mistake. Full funding is full funding, no matter what you call it. Every member of Congress who wants to support our troops and end the war should oppose this proposal. If you're in Congress, and you believe this war is wrong, I urge you to use every power you have to stop it if it's brought up for a vote. Block the blank check.
And I urge all Americans who want this war to end to tell your representatives in Congress that you will support them if they stand up to the president. Tell them you understand that when the president vetoes a bill that funds the troop and ends the war, he is the only person in America stopping support for the troops. It is time for this war to end. As I have said repeatedly, Congress should send the president the same bill he vetoed again and again until he realizes he has no choice but to start bringing our troops home. Anything less is everything he needs to prolong the war."
“The bill we are voting on denies the American people a plan for a responsible way out of Iraq. I also disagree with the approach in this bill – cutting off economic aid if benchmarks aren't met would be self-defeating. Much of our aid is being used to build local and provincial governments, consistent with the federalism-based political solution I advocate.
“But the practical reality is that, for now, those of us who want to change course in Iraq don’t have the votes to override the President’s veto. And I believe that as long as we have troops on the frontlines, we must give them the equipment and protection they need. So I will vote for the supplemental.
“But we also must – and we will – bring this war to a responsible end. Day after day, vote after vote, I will work to keep the pressure on Republicans to stop reflexively backing the President and start supporting a responsible path out of Iraq.”