On War Powers

After two attempts in the Senate to pass a non-binding resolution expressing discontent with the President’s plan to “surge” twenty-one thousand troops to Iraq the Senate leadership is planning a new move, to rescind the President’s war-making authority in Iraq.

Four years ago, Congress passed legislation authorizing President Bush to go to war in Iraq. Now Senate Democrats want to take it back.

Key lawmakers, backed by party leaders, are drafting legislation that would effectively revoke the broad authority granted to the president in the days Saddam Hussein was in power, and leave U.S. troops with a limited mission as they prepare to withdraw.

Officials said Thursday the precise wording of the measure remains unsettled. One version would restrict American troops in Iraq to fighting al-Qaida, training Iraqi army and police forces, maintaining Iraq’s territorial integrity and otherwise proceeding with the withdrawal of combat forces.

Where the two previous non-binding resolutions ran into difficulty was that they were stand-alone bills. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may be looking at a different route for this proposal:

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., intends to present the proposal to fellow Democrats next week, and he is expected to try to add the measure to anti-terrorism legislation scheduled to be debated later this month.

The chances for passage could be slim, and any bill would have to go to the President for his signature. Yet any proposal is movement as any vote puts the Republicans on record as supporting a failed policy and a failed Presidency and as not heeding the will of the people. That will have repercussions when the 2008 mid-terms roll around–when the American people spoke, were you listening? That’s going to be a difficult question for some Senators to answer, because what can they say–“My party before my country?”

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