Monday, February 19, 2007

Is Murtha "in Command"?

The United States House of Representatives is at an historical crossroads. Does twice Purple hearted Congressman John Murtha have the votes to attach benchmarks to the President's war funding? Even Senate Republican Chuck Hagel, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has said he would be open to such a resolution. That might go a ways to explain why the normally staid Britt Hume went ballistic on this week's "Fox News Sunday," making personal attacks against John Murtha's sanity. According to our favorite Dickensian villain, Robert Novak:

"After 16 undistinguished terms in Congress, Rep. John P. Murtha at long last felt his moment had arrived. He could not keep quiet the secret Democratic strategy that he had forged for the promised "second step" against President Bush's Iraq policy (after the "first step" nonbinding resolution of disapproval). In an interview Thursday with the anti-war Web site, he revealed plans to put conditions on funding of U.S. troops. His message: I am running this show.
Indeed, he is. Murtha and his ally, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, were humiliated Nov. 16 when the Democratic Caucus overwhelmingly voted against Murtha as majority leader. Three months later, Murtha has shaped party policy that would cripple Bush's troop surge by placing conditions on funding. That represents the most daring congressional attempt to micromanage armed hostilities in nearly two centuries, since the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War challenged Abraham Lincoln.

"Murtha's plan did not surprise Republicans. They were poised to contend that his proposed amendment to the supplemental appropriations bill would effectively cut off funding for the war, confronting moderate Democrats elected after promising voters to support troops. But the Senate rule requiring 60 votes to end debate, which prevented final passage of the nonbinding resolution rejecting the troop surge, would not affect Murtha's plan because appropriations have to be passed and cannot be filibustered. Thus, unless there is an unexpected retreat of Democrats, Murtha will be driving U.S. policy."

To put it all into perspective, from USNewsandWorldReport:

"With the House having offered what U.S. News and World Report called a 'resounding vote of no confidence' on President Bush's new Iraq strategy this weekend, and the Senate failing to muster the support to do the same, Senate Democrats are now 'suggesting they will seek to limit a 2002 measure authorizing President Bush's use of force,' USA Today reports. Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin said yesterday Democrats 'will probably seek to capitalize on wavering Republicans to limit the 'wide-open authorization' Congress gave Bush' four years ago. The Financial Times says Levin said changes 'would redefine the role of the US military in Iraq from a 'combat mission to a support mission.'"

"However, Levin noted, that doesn't mean cutting off funding for US troops. On Fox News Sunday, he said, 'I don't think there's support to cut off funds. I think that sends the wrong message to our troops.' That statement, which appears to echo GOP criticisms of House Democratic plans, could signal a budding divide between Senate and House Democrats. In the House, Rep. Jack Murtha 'wants strings on that money to make it harder for the President to maintain troop levels," NBC Nightly News said, even though 'those restrictions would face strong opposition in the Senate and a certain presidential veto.' On CNN's Late Edition, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, 'Murtha is onto something, where they're going next. ... Where they're going is to try to cut off funds for the troops. It's very dangerous turf for them.'"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Like the topics at your blog.
Greets from MK!