As the Senate Broods, the House Speeds Through a Debate on IraqJuly 12, 2007 - by Donny Shaw
Democrats and Republicans in The House of Representatives are currently flying through one-minute speeches on the Iraq war (a debate that makes for some pretty exciting C-Span watching). When all the speeches are over — after four hours according to a rule agreed upon earlier by the House — the House will vote on a bill to require the withdrawal of U.S.troops from Iraq.
Here’s what the bill specifically requires:
>(a) Requirement- The Secretary of Defense shall commence the reduction of the number of Armed Forces in Iraq beginning not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act and shall complete the reduction and transition to a limited presence of the Armed Forces in Iraq by not later than April 1, 2008.
>(b) Reduction and Transition To Be Carried Out in a Safe and Orderly Manner- The reduction of the number of Armed Forces in Iraq and transition to a limited presence of the Armed Forces in Iraq required by subsection (a) shall be implemented in a safe and orderly manner, with maximum attention paid to protection of the Armed Forces that are being redeployed from Iraq.
>© Reduction and Transition to Further Comprehensive Strategy- The reduction of the number of Armed Forces in Iraq and transition to a limited presence of the Armed Forces in Iraq required by subsection (a) shall further be implemented as part of the comprehensive United States strategy for Iraq required by section 4 of this Act.
Check out the full text to see section 4 and a brief “sense of Congress” section.
The vote to agree to the rule for debate was a tight 221-196, almost perfectly along party lines. The vote on the bill itself is expected to be approved with a similar party-line vote. CongressDaily (subscription required), has a preview of what we can expect to see on the roll call:
>Democratic leadership aides and aides to anti-war members said they expected support from nearly every member of the progressive caucus except Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. One senior aide said many liberals are not satisfied with the measure, which has no chance of passing and withstanding a veto, but are willing to back it as the best measure they can get at this time. Democratic leadership aides also credited the support of Rep. Lincoln Davis, D-Tenn., for ensuring the support of most members of the moderate-to-conservative Blue Dog Coalition. Davis said he decided to back the bill because it is not tied to troop funding like previous efforts. “This is truly a policy statement,” he said. “I want our troops out of the kill zone. I want them to stop being the army for Iraq.”
>Minority Leader Boehner predicted Republicans would remain largely unified against the bill, and he criticized Democratic leaders for bringing the bill to the floor even though they know they do not have the votes to override President Bush’s promised veto. “This is not leadership; this is negligence,” Boehner said.
Since this bill is heading nowhere but to a presidential veto, it’s good that the debate is moving fast. So why even bother, you ask? McJoan at DailyKos explains the real impact that the bill could have:
>The votes today in the House on H.R. 2956, the Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act will send a critical message to the Senate as it continues debate on the DoD authorization, and to the President that it is time for a change in Iraq.
>A unified Democratic vote on this legislation, which mirrors the Senate Levin/Reed bill and sets a date certain for redeployment out of Iraq of April 1, 2008, is critical. In May, the baseline vote for the Democratic position in Iraq, the McGovern fully funded withdrawal showed that 171 House members are ready to end the war by cutting off funds. The current legislation doesn’t use the purse strings, but it does take the step of setting a binding date certain, a position which all Democrats should be able to accept.
UPDATE: The bill was just approved by the House, 223-201. Peep the roll call details here.