In an interview that aired on ABC’s This Week on Sunday morning, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that the House will pass an Iraq war spending bill before they leave for their Memorial Day break. “By the time we leave here to honor our war veterans and those who have given their lives for our country on Memorial Day weekend, we will have legislation to fund the troops,” Pelosi said. Despite a presidential veto of their first bill, and a promise that any future war funding bills that contain a troop withdrawal deadline will also be vetoed, Pelosi is standing firm on the issue of holding President Bush accountable for the war in Iraq. “But if the president says, ‘No accountability; I want a blank check with a war without end,’ then we’ll have to oppose that,” she said.

Pelosi noted, that despite the offer of Democratic concessions such as removing the domestic spending from the bill, and making any troop withdrawal deadlines voluntary, Bush has refused to budge on any of his positions. “When it comes to the war in Iraq, the president has a tin ear. He just cannot hear except that which he wants to hear on it,” she said. The Speaker also said that it was too late for an amendment like that of Sen. John Warner (R-VA). Warner’s proposal ties war funding to the Iraqi government meeting stronger benchmarks.

However, Pelosi said that the Warner proposal was, “too little too late. This would have been an appropriate measure maybe three or four years ago. But the accountability is very meager in the bill.” Pelosi believes that accountability is something that the American people want on the issue of Iraq. “That is where the president refuses to listen. We’ve worked in a bipartisan way with the president on trade, on immigration, on our innovation agenda, on many issues.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that any compromise on war funding can’t include a troop withdrawal date. “Look, we need to have a compromise if we want to get the job done before Memorial Day. We know how to get there. It’s to take out the surrender date. Any kind of reasonable benchmarks on the Iraqi government I think are going to have broad bipartisan support. That’s clearly the way to get there,” McConnell said. McConnell also made it clear that he has the votes to uphold another presidential veto.

It appears that the Republicans are assuming that the American people are going to support them the whole way down the line on this, but they won’t. If the GOP keeps rejecting Democratic proposals, they will begin to look responsible for the lack of funding for the troops. The American people are already against the war and if this fight gets ugly, they will side with the Democrats. President Bush and the Republicans need to realize this, and take the best deal that they can get.

ABC News article on Pelosi interview

More quotes from this AP article

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics 

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse
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