Dover Bitch

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Webb's Iran proposal also a victim

While we all shake our heads at the abysmal manner in which the Democratic Congress has abdicated its obligations and clear mandate from the American people with regards to Iraq and the supplemental spending bill, let's not take our eyes of yet another significant capitulation.

Sen. Jim Webb introduced an amendment to the Iraq supplemental bill in March that would have required the president to seek congressional approval before using military force in Iran. DB wrote about this yesterday, if you want more details.

Today, DB has learned that Webb's amendment, which according to the Senate's web site, has a status of "read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations" is essentially a dead letter. It was determined to be "not germane" to the bill to which it was intended to be attached, namely the Iraq supplemental.

So Congress isn't simply giving Bush a blank check for Iraq. They've completely punted on Iran as well.

Joe Biden had this to say to Condoleezza Rice back in January:

Secondly, I also want to make it clear, as chairman of the committee, that I feel very strongly that the authorization of the use of force in the provision that the Senator [Webb] read from it explicitly denies you the authority to go into Iran. Let me say that again: explicitly denies you the authority to go into Iran. We will fight that out if the President moves but I just want the record to show, and I would like to have a legal response from the State Department that if they think they have authority to pursue networks or anything else across the boarder into Iran and Iraq [Syria] that will generate a Constitutional confrontation here in the Senate, I predict to you. At least I will attempt to make it a confrontation.

But we already know Bush thinks he has the authority. He offered our military to Tony Blair when the British sailors were captured by Iran in March. He's authorized covert operations in Iran right now. There are indications that he is developing a plan for a full-scale military conflict.

What is Biden waiting for? A letter from Rice spelling it out?

UPDATE: Yikes! Just read this post by Steve Clemons. Seriously, read it.

UPDATE II: So much for "germane."

The measure also adds $17 billion Bush did not request, including funds for military and veterans health and hurricane recovery, and increases the federal minimum wage.


It includes $6 billion for hurricane recovery plus funds for drought relief for farms, health insurance for poor children, the war in Afghanistan, mine-resistant military vehicles, readiness of U.S. military forces still in the United States, homeland defense and military and veterans' health care.

The bill also increases the federal minimum wage for the first time in a decade, from $5.15 to $7.25 over two years.

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