Are we set for a showdown in Congress?

President Bush has stated that as soon as the appropriations bill for the Iraq War reaches his desk, he will veto it and send it back to the House to be resubmitted sans conditions for withdrawal from Iraq.

Last week, Bush offered to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid, to discuss the bill (if they agreed to his terms), but Pelosi and Reid rejected the offer, reminding the public that as much as he wished it otherwise, Bush is not a king and that there was an election on November that his party happened to lose.

Mr. Bush’s National Security Adviser, Stephen J. Hadley let the cat out of the bag last week when he revealed that the Bush administration were prepared to go so far as to leave US troops stranded in Iraq to force the House to give Bush the blank cheque that he wants.

Not being one for diplomacy and compromise, Dick Cheney has upped the ante.

Dick Cheney says he is “willing to bet” that Democratic lawmakers will back down and approve a war-spending bill that doesn’t call for U.S. troops to leave Iraq.

Top Democratic leaders shot back that Cheney has lost all public credibility.

It appears that Cheney senses the Bush administration can deal a major blow to the Democrats by backing them into a corner and forcing them to capitulate while everyone is watching. After all, it’s not like he and Bush are running for re-election, so what do they have to lose? Nonetheless, even Cheney is no longer perceived as the overwhelming force he used to be.

The reality is that Congress controls the purse strings and without them, Bush could be stuck in a war with a maxed out credit card.

Will the Democrats finally discover the backbone they have been missing for the last 6 years, or will the impending 2008 presidential elections help them find it?

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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