To counter Bush veto, Feingold introduces bill to 'effectively end military involvement in Iraq'
In a countermove designed to counter President Bush's expected veto of an emergency supplemental spending bill containing a timetable for US troop withdrawal, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) is introducing legislation which would "effectively end military involvement in Iraq."
According to a press release sent to RAW STORY, Feingold's bill "requires the President to begin safely redeploying U.S. troops from Iraq 120 days from enactment, as required by the emergency supplemental spending bill passed by the Senate." It would also end "funding for the war, with three narrow exceptions, effective March 31, 2008." The exceptions include operations against Qaeda and other terrorist groups, training Iraqi security forces, and funds related to security for United States infrastructure and personnel.
The bill is cosponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), along with Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chris Dodd (D-CT), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), John Kerry (D-MA), Pat Leahy (D-VT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). The press release notes, "If the President vetoes the emergency supplemental spending bill, Reid has said he will work to ensure Feingoldís bill gets a vote in the Senate before Memorial Day."
Last week, as RAW STORY reported, Reid said that he was "pleased to cosponsor Senator Feingoldís important legislation."
Reid added, "I believe it is consistent with the language included in the supplemental appropriations bill passed by a bipartisan majority of the Senate. If the President vetoes the supplemental appropriations bill and continues to resist changing course in Iraq, I will work to ensure this legislation receives a vote in the Senate in the next work period."
In today's press release, Feingold notes, "The President says he will veto legislation already passed by the Senate that both funds the troops and responds to Americansí demands for an end to the Iraq war."
"Since the President refuses to change his failed Iraq policy, that responsibility falls on Congress," Feingold continued. "By setting a date after which funding for the Presidentís failed Iraq policy will end, we can give the President the time and funding he needs to safely redeploy our troops so we can refocus on the global terrorist networks that threaten the lives of Americans."
However, one top Democratic has already strongly spoken out against supporting any legislation that would cut funding for troops.
"We're not going to vote to cut funding, period," Senate Armed Service Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) said. "But what we should do, and we're going to do, is continue to press this president to put some pressure on the Iraqi leaders to reach a political settlement."
Excerpts from press release:
The language of the legislation reads:
(a) Transition of Mission - The President shall promptly transition the mission of United States forces in Iraq to the limited purposes set forth in subsection (d).
(b) Commencement of Safe, Phased Redeployment from Iraq - The President shall commence the safe, phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq that are not essential to the purposes set forth in subsection (d). Such redeployment shall begin not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
(c) Prohibition on Use of Funds - No funds appropriated or otherwise made available under any provision of law may be obligated or expended to continue the deployment in Iraq of members of the United States Armed Forces after March 31, 2008.
(d) Exception for Limited Purposes - The prohibition under subsection (c) shall not apply to the obligation or expenditure of funds for the limited purposes as follows:
(1) To conduct targeted operations, limited in duration and scope, against members of al Qaeda and other international terrorist organizations.
(2) To provide security for United States infrastructure and personnel.
(3) To train and equip Iraqi security services.