Following up on this story today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler just called in to say that he will be introducing his own bill within the next few days to try to force a withdrawal of American troops from Iraq by limiting funding for the war.
“You have got to use funding — it’s the only real enforcement congress has,” he said.
Nadler said he recognized that slashing funds is politically problematic in that any restrictions on funding for the war will be portrayed as an abandonment of the troops.
“The way around that is not to cut the funding but to condition the funding,” he said, explaining that his bill will “say no funds appropriated at all except for the following purposes: One, protect the troops. Two, withdraw on the following timetable. Three, reconstruction to help Iraq. And four, diplomacy to set up international conferences.”
Nadler says the bill will also include a measure that bars any funds for increasing troops at any time.
Just to be clear, this is a longshot.
For the bill to go anywhere, it needs the support of the Democratic leadership. (Nadler says that, so far, Maurice Hinchey of New York, Lynn Woolsey of California and Jim McGovern of Massachusetts have expressed interest in supporting the measure.)
And even if such a bill made it far enough to come before the executive, President Bush would be likely to veto it.
“You put this as a limitation on the appropriations bill,” said Nadler. “If he vetoes it he has no money.”
And what about Democrats like Sen. Joe Biden, who has said that Congress “micromanaging” the war through legislative restrictions is unconstitutional?
“I don’t agree with Biden,” Nadler said. “You can certainly condition use of funds. The basic problem that you have is that you’ve got a stubborn jerk in the White House who will ignore anything and do what he wants to do.”