In their continuing effort to end the war in Iraq, the House of Representatives will vote today on legislation to bar the establishment of permanent bases in Iraq:
Instead of embracing bipartisan alternatives, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid dropped the Iraq debate altogether. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi turned her attention to other war-related Democratic bills.
The House is expected to pass a bill Wednesday by Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., that would ban permanent bases in Iraq. By week's end, the House Armed Services Committee planned to draft legislation for a vote next week that would insist troops be given sufficient time at home in between combat tours.
Left on the cutting room floor are several bipartisan proposals that could challenge Bush on Iraq and which have attracted GOP support.
But the legislation being considered today is essentially irrelevant, since the U.S. does not maintain 'permanent' bases. As Republican leader Boehner pointed out:
"Instead of wasting time with meaningless stunts and undermining our troops overseas through harmful rhetoric, Members of Congress should be united and focused on preventing al Qaeda from establishing permanent bases in Iraq and using them to stage terrorist attacks against the United States and our allies."
"The bill brought to the floor by the majority today represents yet another political stunt -- and an intellectually-dishonest one at that, because the United States has never proposed establishing a permanent base in Iraq or anywhere else. â€˜No permanent bases' is already the policy of the United States, and there is no such thing as a â€˜permanent' U.S. military base in foreign countries. All U.S. military bases abroad are subject to cooperative agreements with the respective host countries. The agreements can be altered or eliminated at any time."
But again, this debate really isn't about the substance of the Iraq war; it's all about the politics.