This is from The Politico, so take with a grain of salt, but I like it —
Rep. Dave Obey (D-Wis.) outlined a new plan for an Iraq funding bill in private meetings Thursday afternoon, congressional aides said.
The plan would split the now vetoed supplemental spending bill into two bills, one that would provide two months of funding for the Iraq War and another that would fund the agricultural programs contained in the earlier bill, aides said.
In addition to the two months of Iraq funding, the bill would provide a $10 billion cushion to allow the military flexibility. It would also require the president to report back to Congress by July 13 on the extent to which the Iraqi government had met certain benchmarks for progress.
The plan would “fence off” additional combat funds until Congress voted to “unfence” them. Such a vote would be held on July 24. A vote of the FY08 defense appropriations bill would be delayed until September, one aide said.
Benchmarks with real teeth. Interesting.
As I argued here, I think the smartest strategy right now could be to hit Bush with a bill that’s got real conditions in it, even if not timetables, that can attract a substantial number of Republican votes. A veto-proof majority would be ideal. Force Bush into a real confrontation with Congress, not just Democrats in Congress. Commander Guy would either be brought to heel, or else Congress would be forced to acknowledge and deal with the constitutional crisis they’ve been ignoring for some time.
Update: This guy’s got it:
One thing I like about these Democratic leaders is they’re very subtle and canny. We have to keep in mind, of course, that we’re dealing with a hostage situation here, and we have to protect our soldiers from this maniac.
Exactly. I see lots of bloggers think — naively, IMO — that a cutoff of funds would force Bush to withdraw troops. I have already explained why I think this is a foolish idea. Bush can move monies around for months to keep the war going, and if he’s as crazy as I think he is he’d see every U.S. soldier in Iraq starved or gunned down before he’d comply with a congressional mandate to bring them home. We’re dealing with a hostage situation here, and we have to protect our soldiers from this maniac.