Veto Power

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Superlative, Mar 28, 2007.

  1. Superlative

    Superlative Senior Member

    Mar 13, 2007
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    Withdrawal plan on path to Bush veto

    Senate set to pass spending bill with timetable for troop pullout, but president has vowed to reject measure

    WASHINGTON - Setting the stage for a direct confrontation with President Bush over the war in Iraq, the Senate on Tuesday for the first time backed a timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops.

    The 50-48 vote turned aside a Republican bid to strip the timelines from a $122 billion emergency spending bill being sought by the White House to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    With Republicans unexpectedly giving up plans to block the bill, the closely divided Senate appears poised to pass the bill and its controversial timelines as soon as today.

    With the House having approved its own timelines last week, congressional Democrats are now close to presenting the president with a stark choice: Veto the essential war funding or negotiate directly with war critics in a way he has never done.

    "He doesn't get everything he wants now, so I think it's time that he started working with us," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., a chief architect of the Democratic campaign to pressure the president to alter his war policy. "The president must change course."

    The Senate bill would require the president to begin pulling out combat troops within 120 days of the measure's enactment and would set a "goal" of completing the withdrawal by March 31, 2008.

    Bush has repeatedly rejected timelines, criticizing them for tying the hands of military commanders in the field. On Tuesday, the White House reiterated a veto threat that the president personally delivered last week after the House approved its version of the war funding bill, which would mandate a withdrawal of most U.S. troops no later than August 2008.

    "The president is disappointed that the Senate continues down a path with a bill that he will veto and has no chance of becoming law," deputy White House press secretary Dana Perino said in a statement.

    In the three months since Democrats assumed the majority on Capitol Hill, the White House has been able to count on Republican lawmakers to back up those warnings with legislative action.

    Senate Republicans, weathering accusations that they were preventing debate on the most important issue facing the country, twice last month successfully filibustered nonbinding resolutions criticizing the president's plan to deploy additional troops to Iraq.

    And fewer than two weeks ago, the Senate rejected a resolution that, like the war funding bill, calls for a troop pullout by March 31, 2008. Then, two Democrats and one independent voted with the Republicans.

    But this week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., indicated that Senate Republicans would not use their power to filibuster the spending bill, even though Democrats stood little chance of mustering the 60 votes needed to overcome such a GOP maneuver.

    McConnell and other GOP lawmakers said the decision reflected their desire to put a bill on the president's desk quickly so he could veto it and Congress would be forced to pass a spending measure without the limits.

    "We are committed on the Republican side to funding our troops ... and are not interested in allowing the political posturing to get in the way of the core support," McConnell explained.

    He and other GOP lawmakers continue to criticize the Democratic plan for timelines as a strategy for defeat that would hobble the administration's plan to boost troop levels.

    "Conditions have changed in Iraq," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., emphatically told his Senate colleagues, noting decreasing ethnic violence and increased cooperation from Iraqi authorities.

    "The Baghdad security plan, the surge, is working far better than even the most optimistic supporter had predicted," McCain said. "Markets that have been subject to horrific car bombings have been turned into pedestrian malls."

    But the speeches did not sway enough Republicans to eliminate the timelines. Two GOP lawmakers -- Oregon's Gordon Smith and Nebraska's Chuck Hagel -- crossed the aisle and voted with the Democrats.

    Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryor and Connecticut independent Joe Lieberman, who caucuses with Democrats, voted with the GOP. Two senators did not vote: Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Michael Enzi, R-Wyo.

    By allowing the bill to pass, Senate Republicans have effectively left the White House to confront congressional Democrats alone.

    That was a wise political decision, said longtime GOP consultant Frank Luntz. "At a certain point, Republicans have to let the president stand up. ... This was George W. Bush's policy. It should be George W. Bush's decision," Luntz said. "George Bush will not be up for re-election again. In 2008, the entire House and one third of the Senate will."

    For their part, Democrats seem to be relishing the impending showdown.

    Emboldened by public support for ending the war, many party leaders and strategists believe that even if the president vetoes a spending bill containing the timelines, the Democratic campaign to bring the war to a close will have moved forward.

    "This is all part of a longer-term process of building pressure on the administration to change its Iraq policy," said Democratic strategist Mark Mellman. "The truth is that the best way to affect policy is by politics. It is by ratcheting up the political pressure that there will be a substantive change in policy."

    By Noam N. Levey
  2. jasendorf

    jasendorf Senior Member

    May 31, 2006
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    For years now I've been saying that if the President wants to fight wars he should put it in the regular budget. But, the White House has refused to budget for the wars every year instead relying on "emergency resolutions" for money for the wars.

    Why didn't/hasn't he put the wars in his regular budget? Simple, to pretend that he's doing something about the deficit. They keep this spending out of the regular budget to pretend that they've somehow sent a "more balanced" budget to Congress when in reality they've ignored the huge expenditures of this war.

    Why are the troops in dire need of an emergency resolution? Because the Republicans have played politics with the budget for the past four years.
  3. Edward

    Edward Senior Member

    Apr 7, 2005
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    In the words of James Madison, "Those who are to conduct a war cannot in the nature of things, be proper or safe judges, whether a war ought to be commenced, continued, or concluded. They are barred from the latter functions by a great principle in free government, analogous to that which separates the sword from the purse, or the power of executing from the power of enacting laws." It was generally accepted by our Founding Fathers that the Congress had the authority to start a war, to continue that war, and to conclude that war and not the President for in the words of Madison he is "barred from [these] functions by a great principle in free government." Not only did our Founding Fathers see Congress as having power over the purse but also the power to regulate our troops. While they were not explicit in stating that Congress had the power to determine the course of a war they understood the word war in the vernacular of the time. For many years the views of the Founding Fathers on the role of Congress in setting policy were respected but now they are ignored by those who support the President in favor of an unconstitutional, non-democratic and non-republican role of the President to determine U.S. policy.

    Congress needs to take a firm stand and to assert its constitutional authority and to prevent the President from exercising the power of Congress to set U.S. policy and to firmly re-affirm his role as Commander in Chief and not as a policy maker. In the words of Hamilton he would be the "General in Chief" of the Army and "Admiral in Chief" of the Navy. Congress would retain authority to set U.S. policy both in domestic and foreign matters as intended by our founding Fathers.

    These time-lines should be included as part of the funding of the military and without them Congress would be turning over its authority to conduct war to the President. He would not only have the authority of being Commander in Chief but would also obtain the power to set U.S. policy in matters of war as opposed to the Constitutional authority of Congress to do so. Republicans are wrong to attempt to strip such time-lines from the funding of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as it is absolutely necessary that the Congress determines the course of this war. Anything less than this denies the American people as a whole a voice in the conduct of this war.

    The President seems to be of the opinion that he functions as a monarch in matters of war and does not have to implement the policies set by our representatives in Congress. In this he is mistaken and he exceeds the authority of his office.

    Senator Reid is correct that it is time that the President realize that Congress has decided to change course and that he must act accordingly. To not do so would be a violation of the separation of powers and checks and balances put into place by our Founding Fathers.

    Congress fundamentally has the authority to set policy regarding when the war is to begin, and when it will end. If Congress chooses to re-deploy our troops back to the United States than the President must implement the will of our Congress. He can attempt to veto Congress in this but Congress must be firm with the President and must assert itself.

    I doubt very much that time-lines tie the hands of military commanders in the field as those military commanders are required to implement the policy of the United States and if Congress determines that the policy is to withdraw most U.S. troops no later than August 2008 than they must do so. Commanders in the field do not set policy instead they implement that policy and conduct the daily activities of the war in a manner that is consistent with our U.S. policy.

    Such threats by Ms. Perino and the President will not be well received by the representatives of the American people. Not only does the bill have a chance of becoming law but it is probable that the President will be impeached if he continues to obstruct the will of Congress. This will be unfortunate yet it may well be the only option left to Congress if the President choose to violate the Constitutional separation of powers.

    Yet, I suspect that Democrats were not and are not afraid of a Presidential veto or Republican opposition to Congress asserting its authority to bring this war to an end in a peaceful manner.

    First, the President doesn't have the authority to deploy the National Guard. That authority is explicitly granted to Congress and not the President but putting that aside he still has no authority to "regulate the troops" and to control where they will be sent. Such power held by one man is arbitrary and violates that "great principle of freedom" upon which all free governments are founded. The men and women who are sent to fight in wars trust their duly elected representatives in Congress to protect them and to exercise their authority to make sure that their lives are not being wasted, and that their sacrifices are honored. Bush has demonstrated a total lack of respect for our troops by threatening to veto this bill and he should be truly ashamed of himself. He doesn't deserve to command the respect of the Democrats and independents that make up our military when he ignores their representatives in Congress.

    This is simply absurd and isn't going to happen. Such threats, such coercion and such undemocratic action will be met with resistance by Democrats who will have to force the hands of Republicans by stating, "either pass this bill as is and fund the troops or demonstrate to the American people and our soldiers that you do not care about their lives or their sacrifices. It is completely unacceptable for Republican members of Congress and the President to conspire against the American people and our men and women in uniform to coerce Congress into passing legislation that we do not agree with and which puts our soldiers in harms way." At this point a show-down is very likely and no funding will be passed because the President and Republicans refuse to allow it to be passed. Democrats will continue to pass funding and to include policy provisions in the bill and the President will be forced to acknowledge that our representatives will not tolerate him using undemocratic and non-republican tactics to thwart the will of the American people in favor of his supporters.

    If this is true than the President will sign the bill and fund the troops but I suspect very much that the President will veto it and will resort to political posturing and will attempt to impede the will of Congress. Every Republican has had the opportunity to vote in favor of funding our troops but they did not because of their political opinion about when this war should end believing that the President has the authority to end the war even though our Founding Fathers rejected their argument as a monarchical one.

    The American people and our representatives do not want to increase our troop levels in Iraq instead we want to start re-deploying our troops out of Iraq and it is becoming quite obvious that Republicans and the President are intent on preventing our representatives from accomplishing that and this cannot be tolerated.

    Here are true patriots to this country, and our soldiers as opposed to those who voted against this bill in favor of not funding our troops because of their partisan opinion and I might add a minority one at that. They have shown a willingness to tell the American people that our opinions don't matter and that a majority means nothing to them so long as they have a Republican President because they are going to do exactly what they want and the American people be damned.

    Congressional Democrats and patriotic Republicans in Congress are willing to confront the President and to assert Congressional authority over war policy and to give the American people a voice in U.S. policy.

    And it is then that the American people will remember that Republicans voted against funding soldiers in favor of their political opinions. I feel sympathy for Republicans because the American people will condemn them for their actions and the only people who will support them are those who put partisanship ahead of the lives of our soldiers.

    Indeed, this is very true. It gives Democrats the opportunity to re-assert Congressional authority in setting policy and to prevent continued violation of the Constitution by President Bush. In this Democrats are supported by the Constitution and by our Founding Fathers.

    As it should be. There is no doubt that the American people will prevail and the President and his supporters will fail in their attempts to impede the will of the American people through our elected representatives.

    By passing this bill Congress took the first step in setting U.S. policy and now it is up to the President to show how much he hates the American people who disagree with him and his supporters. When he speaks to the soldiers in Iraq he can say, "I don't give a d-mn about the Democratic soldiers here or your representatives in Congress. I decide and if you don't like it than shut up because I will send you to war and you will die based solely on my opinion and that is as simple as that. You don't have a say unless you agree with me. Vote all you want because it doesn't matter. This isn't a democracy. I am the Commander in Chief of the United States and you will obey me and there is nothing you can do about it including voting. If you die fighting in a war that you had no say in than so be it. Your mothers, your fathers, and loved ones can weep while I sleep soundly in the White House."

    Let us all pray for our troops and for those who have been put in harm's way by Mr. Bush and may we pray that our representatives will have the courage to stand up to Mr. Bush and to defend the right of the American people to have a say in U.S. policy.

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