Tuesday :: Dec 18, 2007

Submitted without comment


by Turkana

Washington Post:

The Senate last night approved a $555 billion omnibus spending bill to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year, shortly after bowing to President Bush's demand for $70 billion in unrestricted funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Democrats had vowed only weeks ago to withhold any Iraq-specific money unless strict timelines for troop withdrawal were established, but they instead chose, on a 70 to 25 vote, to remove what appeared to be the final obstacle to sending the spending bill to the White House, where Bush has indicated he will sign it. Senators then passed the omnibus bill, 76 to 17.

The House must still approve the revised spending bill, with the unrestricted war funds, but Democrats there concede the measure is likely to pass behind strong Republican support.

New York Times:

The Senate voted Tuesday night to approve a sweeping year-end budget package after adding $70 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the objections of Democrats who have been stymied all year in their efforts to change the course of the conflict in Iraq.

CQ Politics:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., admitted Thursday that she had underestimated the willingness of Republicans to stand behind President Bush’s Iraq policy despite the drubbing the GOP took in the polls in 2006.

The assumption I made was that the Republicans would soon see the light,” she said. Instead, the minority stuck to the president’s war policy in the face of unrelenting pressure from congressional Democrats and powerful lobbying campaigns by anti-war groups.

Bush has consistently refused to accept any limitations on his authority to direct military operations in Iraq, or on funds destined for the war effort. Democrats have been unable to muster enough votes to force him to accept a timetable for withdrawal of combat troops or a change in their mission in Iraq.

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