In a move that was considered an eventuality by almost everyone, Congressional Democratic leadership has finally decided to give into President Bush’s demands and send him an emergency war funding bill that does not contain any extra domestic spending, or a timeline for withdrawing the troops from Iraq. The Associated Press is quoting anonymous officials who say that the Democrats intend to have the dispute over funding the war wrapped up before they leave for their Memorial Day break on Friday. Although the bill could change before it is brought to the floor for a vote, right now the only provision that the Democrats have attached to it is an increase in the minimum wage.

It was really clear to anyone who listening to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi over the past few days that the Democratic leadership had no intention of standing their ground in this fight. Both Reid and Pelosi said over the weekend that the war funding bill would be sent to the president before Memorial Day. On the surface this is a short term political victory for President Bush, but he and his war policy were placed front and center on the agenda, and he has taken quite a beating over the past few months. The Democrats’ goal in this was, will continue to be, to keep pressure on the congressional Republicans who are supporting this war. As far as the domestic spending that was cut out of the previous war funding bill is concerned, the Democrats plan to reintroduce that spending as part of a second bill.

The Democratic leadership will lose most with the liberals in their own party who want the war ended now. These are the people who are currently giving Pelosi and Reid the biggest headaches. The bad news for both sides in this dispute is that both the emergency funding and funding for the fiscal year end on September 30. If the situation in Iraq has not improved over the summer, look for an even more intense battle to ensue over the future of U.S. involvement there.

This fall is the time that many congressional Republicans are pointing to as the make or break time for their support of the president’s war policy. The big shift in support of the president was never going to come now, but if the GOP wants to recover any of the seats they lost in the 2008 election, they can’t afford to support Bush’s Iraq war policy past this fall. The rubber is going to really hit the road in September, and all supporters of the war can do is hope that things get better in Iraq.

AP Article

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at 

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at
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