Speaking on “This Week” on ABC News, Representative John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania, the chairman of the subcommittee on military appropriations in the House, said he expected Congress to move to restrict financing for new troop deployments — or at the very least tie approval to stringent conditions the White House would have to meet first.Howie P.S.: Obama is also quoted in a LA Times story this morning, reprinted in the Bothell Times:
“If we have our way, there will be some substantial change and tremendous pressure put on this administration to change direction,” Mr. Murtha said.
But Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the new chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on CNN on Sunday that he did not believe Congress should “use the power of the purse” to halt the president’s plan and that it should go no further than approving nonbinding resolutions opposing it.
The growing pressure on Democrats to confront the White House was highlighted by a speech delivered Sunday by John Edwards, the former Democratic senator from North Carolina who is seeking his party’s presidential nomination. Mr. Edwards, who voted to authorize the war when he was in the Senate in 2002 but has since said that it was a mistake, said Congress had a moral duty to cut off financing.
Public frustration with the war, and political moves like Mr. Edwards’s on Sunday, will only heighten the pressure, especially on Democrats running for president, to put real limits or conditions on the White House war plan.
Advisers to Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama — neither of whom is a declared candidate — said in interviews that the senators had yet to conclude that the financing issue was the best way to fight Mr. Bush.
Mr. Obama, on “Face the Nation” on CBS News, said: “The president has already begun these additional deployments. We, unfortunately, are not going to be voting on funding for several weeks, perhaps months.”
Obama, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, laid out an alternative plan similar to the Iraq Study Group's. He advocated a phased pullout, along with improved reconstruction efforts and increased diplomacy that includes Syria and Iran.Howie opinion: Too bad the "decider" is just going on with his decisions, while Obama floats his proposals.
"We cannot impose a military solution on what has effectively become a civil war," Obama said.
"I think it's important to understand that the options are not either total withdrawal or a 'stay-the-course-plus,' which is essentially what the administration is proposing, but rather the kind of thoughtful bipartisan strategy that's been suggested by not just Democrats but also Republicans, not just civilians but also by the military."