It seems that Congressional Democrats may finally take up legislation next week to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the rest of 2008, and into 2009. Because so many liberal are unwilling to vote for a funding bill however, and because Congressional leaders won't pass a bill that Republicans approve of, they are forced into a convoluted strategy to try to approve the needed money:
With the hope of streamlining the process and finishing work on the measure by the Memorial Day recess, Democrats have signaled that their strategy for the supplemental could bypass both Appropriations committee markups and even a House-Senate conference on the bill.
But Republicans and even some Democrats are opposed to such a strategy, saying that if too many lawmakers are left out of the process, the result could be even longer delays in the bill's enactment.
After weeks of discussions, several House aides confirmed that they could bring to the floor, probably next week, a bill that would be open to three specific amendments: one for over $170 billion in war funding, another for domestic spending items and a third for a series of Iraq-related policy provisions.
The process that Congress will use is still a moving target; there are plenty of Senators and House Members upset over this proposed gimmickry. The simplest thing to do would be to bring up a simple funding bill with no extra spending or policy provisions. That would garner a majority of Republican and Democratic votes. But this Congress continues to put political gamesmanship ahead of the mission, and the troops.