Like many, you may have been scratching your head when Bush asked for $102 billion in the upcoming supplemental bill for war funding, and the Democrats in Congress said "how about $170?" It was like the 2006 election never happened.
The Democratic leadership wants the war off the table as an issue in the fall. They don’t want it screwing up their election. The $170 billion will fund the war into the summer of 2009, when they can take it up outside the election cycle. Or something. I guess.
Anyway, 70 members of congress, as you’ll recall, sent a letter telling Bush that they would not vote for any more funding for the war except for safe redeployment. The leadership is contemplating combining a domestic stimulus package vote with the war supplemental, which puts members of the Out of Iraq caucus in the uncomfortable position of either breaking their pledge and funding the war or being forced to vote against things like food stamps and unemployment benefits that could really help their struggling constituents.
I spoke with Lynn Woolsey, co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, about the upcoming vote. They’re asking the leadership to vote on domestic and war funding separately. It’s a hard spot to be in — the Blue Dogs are soaking up all that K Street gravy as the new power brokers on the block (they can join with the Republicans to pass legislation whenever they want), so the Progressive Caucus deserves all the help and support we can give them as they try to hold the House to some standard of decency about a war that has become little more than a campaign nuisance to those who should know better.