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Iraq is Back

February 22, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

It’s been a while, but the Senate is finally going to try again to change the course of the Iraq war. Their first order of business when they come back from recess next week will be to vote on two bills from Russ Feingold (D-WI) designed to force changes to U.S. policies in Iraq. One of them even has a chance of passing.

The first of Feingold’s bills, which would block funding for the deployment of U.S. troops 120 days after enactment, is expected to fail overwhelmingly. As CQ reminds us, “four similar measures failed last year. The most recent, a Feingold amendment to an omnibus spending measure, fell by a 24-71 vote Dec. 18.”

But the second bill, calling for a report to drawn up with 60 days detailing the United States global strategy for defeating al Queada, may be close. Like all controversial bills this session, this bill is going to need 60 votes to overcome a procedural hurdle if it is to pass. There’s been no public indication as to how Senate Republicans will vote on this, but it is expected to be supported by all 51 Democrats and at least a few Republicans. It will be a close.

In a press release, Feingold laid out his bills’ specifics:

Feingold’s first bill – S. 2633:

  • Requires the safe redeployment of U.S. combat troops from Iraq.
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  • Requires that after 120 days, funding in Iraq be limited to the following: conducting targeted military operations against al Qaeda and its affiliates, providing security for U.S. personnel and infrastructure, training Iraqi Security Forces, providing equipment and training to U.S. troops, and continuing to redeploy U.S. troops from Iraq.

Feingold’s second bill – S. 2634:

  • Requires the administration to present a report to Congress within 60 days of enactment outlining its global strategy for defeating al Qaeda and its affiliates. The report shall include an analysis of the relative threats in particular countries and regions and recommendations to ensure that U.S. military, intelligence and diplomatic assets are best deployed to meet those geographic threats.
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  • Requires the administration to develop a strategy ensuring that deployments do not undermine military readiness or homeland security, and that reserve units are not deployed more than once every four years and regular units are not redeployed more than once every two years.
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