On Tuesday, House Democratic leaders briefed their membership on their new proposal for funding the war in Iraq. The Democrats new plan will fund the Iraq war through July, but after that gives Congress the option of cutting off future funding. The House Democratic plan would allocate $40 billion to the war and other high priority projects, but it won’t do something that most members of the Senate want, which is guarantee funding for the war through September. However, House Democrats don’t seem too concerned with what the White House thinks right now. “They know what we’re doing obviously,” said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL). “I don’t think their subscriptions to the newspapers ended at any time recently.”

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said this about the House Democrats’ short term funding plan, “I don’t — again, members of the House — we made it clear that the idea somehow of doing a short-term supplemental, we think it’s bad management. It’s kind of a start and stop measure. It denies commanders and forces the kind of predictability they need to be able to plan effectively. It also does not give General Petraeus the ability to implement fully the plan that Congress authorized and voted for him to go ahead and work out within Baghdad, within the Baghdad security plan and elsewhere.”

Snow continued, “A couple of things to note. Number one is you get into a situation like this where you do not have predictable funding. It means that in some cases you’re going to delay deployments….You interrupt purchasing; you interrupt planning; you interrupt contracting. It may be that, in fact, you can only buy small pieces of what in a larger bid would be the kind of vehicles like the V-shaped hulls that a lot of people think are going to be effective in saving lives against EFPs and other devices…We think it’s best to go ahead and get us through this fiscal year. That at least gives you the kind of predictability you need. Members of Congress will continue to have debates, we’ll continue to work on Capitol Hill, but our goal is pretty clear here.”

 If you look beneath the surface, you can start to see a consensus building among Congressional Democrats, Republicans, and the White House that the make or break date for the war in Iraq is September 30, when the current fiscal year ends. I don’t think a half step like short term funding is a good idea. They either have to fund it or not. The problem the Democrats have this time is the same one that they have the whole time. Liberals want to cut off funding now, and conservative Democrats want to continue funding trough the fiscal year. Senate Democrats are much more conservative than their House counterparts, and they have committed to funding this war through September, so it looks like the House bill will be D.O.A.

White House press briefing

Story on House Democratic proposal

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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