On money, benchmarks, vetoes and the war.


Mar 1, 2003
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Recently, the House of Representatives passed a bill that provides over 100 billion dollars to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In this bill, is the requirement that certain benchmarks are met by the United States military and Iraqi governments; one of which is that coalition combat forces are out of Iraq by September 2008.

Today, in the United States Senate, a similar bill was passed, that had a much earlier benchmark for the withdrawl of combat forces from Iraq. Especially interesting is that the bill was passed without exceeding a filibuster-proof 60 votes; the minority voices in the Senate did not stop the vote, even though it is within their power and authority.

The President has said that he will Veto any bill that has such benchmarks included therein.

These bills contain funding for the military, which the Pentagon has said is vital for the war effort. (Although, in reports, it has been clearly spelled out by the Pentagon that any funding shortfalls would effect Stateside military activities, rather than combat forces).

Let us assume the joint committee of Congress is able to reconcile the two separate bills, and submit the legislation to the White House.

Can the President veto a funding bill for his war?
What will be the ramifications?
What if, after a Presidential Veto, Congress takes no action on another funding bill? (There are, after all, many other items on the congressional agenda).

It is critically important for all to understand, regardless of the political positions and plays in progress (great alliteration, eh?), not one combat soldier on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan is going to go without the materials currently provided to them by our government. At least not for quite some time. The Pentagon has quite a bit of flexibility (and invisibility) within its budget. And they have already said, that expenditures will be shifted from the United States to the war zones.

Last I saw, something like 70% of the American people feel our efforts in Iraq will never result with what we were told we would get; a peaceful democratic society. Are their legislators doing what their constituencies demand?