Senate to vote on whether to cut war funding in 2008

Two measures to be offered as amendments to water projects funding bill.

US Iraq army 298.88ap (photo credit: AP)
US Iraq army 298.88ap
(photo credit: AP)
The Senate is expected to vote as early as this week on whether to cut off money for the Iraq war next year, as well as on a softer measure calling for US troops to leave by October. Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday the two measures would be offered as amendments to a water projects funding bill being debated this week. While the Senate had planned to take up Iraq legislation this week, Reid had previously been unclear what specifics members would consider. The first amendment, backed by Reid and Sen. Russ Feingold, would require that combat operations end by March 31, 2008, by cutting off money after that date. The second measure would provide more than $120 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as various domestic projects. It would call for troops to begin leaving Iraq by October 1, but allow the president to waive that requirement. Passage of the $120 billion in war spending would allow the Senate to begin negotiating with the House of Representatives and send President George W. Bush a bill by the end of the month. The House last week approved, 221-205, legislation that would fund the war in two-month installments, giving Congress a chance to cut off money for the war after July. The House measure was considered unlikely to survive in the Senate, where Democrats wanted to fund the war through September. "On our side of the aisle, Democrats believe they should do something very, very close to what was done in the bill that was sent to the president to be vetoed," said Reid. Reid's strategy is likely to appease party members like Feingold who say they will not vote for legislation that funds the deeply unpopular war without binding language demanding US troops leave. While Reid co-sponsored Feingold's proposal, he has said he would not push it as a caucus position. "The American people deserve to have the Senate go on record about whether or not it wants to end our misguided mission in Iraq and safely redeploy our brave troops," said Feingold. However, Feingold's tough anti-war measure is unlikely to pass the Senate, where Democrats hold a narrow majority and several oppose using the budget to end the war.