Monday, April 02, 2007

Feingold and Reid Co-Sponsor A Bill To Cut Off Funding for Iraq War

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Russ Feingold is Da Man -- and Harry Reid has decided to stand by him on new legislation to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq:

U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced today that they are introducing legislation that will effectively end the current military mission in Iraq and begin the redeployment of U.S. forces. The bill requires the President to begin safely redeploying U.S. troops from Iraq 120 days from enactment, as required by the emergency supplemental spending bill the Senate passed last week. The bill ends funding for the war, with three narrow exceptions, effective March 31, 2008.
The language of the legislation reads:

(a) Transition of Mission - The President shall promptly transition the mission of United States forces in Iraq to the limited purposes set forth in subsection (d).

(b) Commencement of Safe, Phased Redeployment from Iraq - The President shall commence the safe, phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq that are not essential to the purposes set forth in subsection (d). Such redeployment shall begin not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(c) Prohibition on Use of Funds - No funds appropriated or otherwise made available under any provision of law may be obligated or expended to continue the deployment in Iraq of members of the United States Armed Forces after March 31, 2008.

(d) Exception for Limited Purposes - The prohibition under subsection (c) shall not apply to the obligation or expenditure of funds for the limited purposes as follows:

(1) To conduct targeted operations, limited in duration and scope, against members of al Qaeda and other international terrorist organizations.

(2) To provide security for United States infrastructure and personnel.

(3) To train and equip Iraqi security services.

The bill is modeled after the legislation that ended funding for the U.S. military involvement in Somalia -- a bill that was supported by many of the same Republicans who now oppose any attempt to curtail funding for the Iraq war, as Sen. Feingold takes pains to remind them:

Today, some supporters of the Iraq war suggest falsely that efforts to cut funding for the war are a threat to our troops in the field. But in 1993, senators overwhelmingly supported successful efforts to cut off funding for a flawed military mission. Defenders of the Iraq war pretend that cutting off funds for the war is the same as cutting off funds for the troops, and raise the specter of troops being left on the battlefield without the training, equipment and resources they need. Every member of Congress agrees that we must continue to support our troops and give them the resources and support they need. And every member of Congress should know that we can do that while at the same time ending funding for a failed military mission. That was clearly understood in October 1993, when 76 senators voted for an amendment, offered by Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, to end funding for the military mission in Somalia effective March 31, 1994, with limited exceptions.

None of those 76 senators, who include the current Republican leader and whip, acted to jeopardize the safety and security of U.S. troops in Somalia. All of them recognized that Congress had the power and the responsibility to bring our military operations in Somalia to a close, by establishing a date after which funds would be terminated.

The same day that the Senate voted on the Byrd amendment, 38 senators -- myself included -- supported an even stronger effort to end funding for Somalia operations. The amendment offered by Sen. John McCain on Oct. 15, 1993, would have eliminated funding for operations in Somalia immediately, except for funds for withdrawing troops or for continuing operations if any American POWs/MIAs were not accounted for. The mostly Republican senators who supported the McCain amendment were not disregarding the safety of our troops, or being indifferent to their need for guns, ammunition, food and clothing. They were supporting an appropriate, safe, responsible proposal to use Congress' power of the purse to bring an ill-conceived military mission to a close without in any way harming our troops.

Sen. Feingold has never been afraid to oppose the president on Iraq; but it's big news when the House Majority Leaders signals that he's through with caving in.

Booman says "Things have truly shifted":

This is exactly what I thought the Democrats should do. Can this really be happening? Did Russ Feingold just go from a babe crying in the wilderness to the Majority Leader's main man? The Democrats have decided to fight. Someone send Obama the memo.

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