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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Analysis: Impasse over Iraq Deepens

Council on Foreign Relations

Updated: April 18, 2007
Prepared by: Robert McMahon

There was no apparent softening of views on the war in Iraq when President Bush and Democratic congressional leaders sat down in the White House to discuss an emergency funding bill. Instead, said participants in the meeting, there appeared to be an acknowledgement that Congress will present Bush soon with a bill tying a troop timeline to funding, and he will veto it (AP). Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Bush “must search his soul, his conscience” to recognize that a bill calling for a troop drawdown next year is right for the country. The talks took place on an especially bloody day in Iraq, with multiple bombings killing nearly two hundred people (Reuters). The White House wants to give time for Bush’s surge strategy, which aims at pacifying the capital to permit the space for political progress among Iraqi factions, to work.

Bush has tried to frame the debate in Washington as a troop support issue, saying repeatedly he will not accept any measure that “hamstrings our troops” and that “we should not legislate defeat in this vital war.” Democrats stress their bill reflects the mandate (PollingReport.com) of a majority of Americans, who have shown in public opinion polls they would rather see troop numbers drawn down in Iraq than increased, as Bush called for under a plan initiated earlier this year.

The standoff highlights one of the strongest attempts in years by Congress to assert its war powers, an issue examined in this new Backgrounder. Both sides acknowledge Congress holds the purse strings and that the Democratic majority doesn’t have the votes to override a presidential veto.

Read the rest of this article on the cfr.org website.

Copyright 2007 by the Council on Foreign Relations. This material is republished on GlobalSecurity.org with specific permission from the cfr.org. Reprint and republication queries for this article should be directed to cfr.org.

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