The Latest On The Iraq Supplemental
Politico reports that the latest proposal Congressional Dems are floating is the short term funding approach:
Rep. Dave Obey (D-Wis.) outlined a new plan for an Iraq funding bill in private meetings Thursday afternoon, congressional aides said. The plan would split the now vetoed supplemental spending bill into two bills, one that would provide two months of funding for the Iraq War and another that would fund the agricultural programs contained in the earlier bill, aides said.
This will make some happy and I admit I have no objection to it. But no one seems to be talking about setting a date certain when the Iraq Debacle will NOT be funded. It does not have to be in any legislation. It need only be announced Democratic policy. You know my drill on this.
The other development is the Byrd-Clinton deauthorization proposal:
In remarks on the Senate floor, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that she and Senator Robert Byrd will introduce legislation to end authority for the war in Iraq. The legislation will propose October 11, 2007 -- the five year anniversary of the original resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq -- as the expiration date for that resolution.
I have written on the deauthorization idea before, and while I find that a fair reading of the intent of the Framers makes the decision to start or end wars solely the perogative of the Congress, the argument is gray at best:
Would a repeal of the Iraq War Authorization be subject to Presidential veto? I believe it would not be. The argument that it would be would be based on Article 1, Section 7, of the Constitution:Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.
Admittedly, the text seems clear. Every "Vote" shall be presented to the President. The problem is the statements of the Founders. For example, James Madison said:[I]t is necessary to adhere to the "fundamental doctrine of the Constitution that the power to declare war is fully and exclusively vested in the legislature."
And Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist 69, said:It would amount to nothing more than the supreme command and direction of the military and naval forces, as first General and admiral of the Confederacy; while that of the British king extends to the declaring of war and to the raising and regulating of fleets and armies -- all which, by the Constitution under consideration, would appertain to the legislature.
To provide the President the power to veto a Congressional decision to END a war would run contrary to what Madison and Hamilton were preaching - that a President can not maintain a state of war. This is an occasion, in my opinion, where the plain meaning clearly runs contrary to the original understanding of the Constitution.
Pretty words from me no? But effective for ending the war? Uh, no. There is a reason I have cheerleaded a NOT funding date certain approach for ending the Iraq Debacle. Because that is the power that can be brought to bear now without debate or confusion. It is what will work.
Senator Clinton said:
The American people have called for change, the facts on the ground demand change, the Congress has passed legislation to require change. It is time to sunset the authorization for the war in Iraq. If the president will not bring himself to accept reality, it is time for Congress to bring reality to him.
Very true Senator. The way to do this is to NOT fund the war after a date certain. That is the Reid-Feingold framework.
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