KAI RYSSDAL: About the only thing up in the air today in Washington was the vote count on that Iraq resolution in the House —246 to 182 was the final tally. The vote ended three days worth of five-minute speeches. Hundreds of them, packed with flag-waving and support for the troops. Left unsaid but not forgotten was how to pay for those troops. Eric Niiler reports from Washington on Democratic plans to force the president’s hand.
ERIC NIILER: Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania has been leading the Democratic charge to limit the flow of money to Iraq. In a video released on movecongress.com, Murtha outlined his plan to restrict deployments. It would require troops take more specialized training and get a year’s rest before heading back. Murtha said his plan will prevent the so-called surge authorized by President Bush.
JOHN MURTHA: They know they can’t sustain the surge if this resolution passes the House and the Senate. And the president could veto it, but then he wouldn’t have any money.
That’s because Murtha’s troop restrictions are tied to a war-funding bill that would pay for the 21,000 extra troops. On the House floor today, Republican Adam Putnam of Florida echoed critics who said Murtha’s plan undercuts military personnel.
ADAM PUTNAM: We certainly don’t support our troops when we attach strings to the funding needed to ensure that when they need help it is on the way.
Military analyst Loren Thompson says that if Murtha’s bill passes and Congress limits how the president conducts and pays for the war, a political battle royale will follow.
LOREN THOMPSON: We really don’t know how this will come out. Because, although it’s true the president can veto any legislation and probably prevail, in the process he would be vetoing a money bill.
Today’s vote was a nonbinding resolution against the war. Murtha’s troop plan will be voted on later this month.
In Washington, I’m Eric Niiler for Marketplace.
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