Saturday, January 26, 2008

Even GOP Congressman attacks Bush-Iraq long-term security deal

When even somebody as hawkishly conservative as Dana Rohrbacher says Bush needs to bring a proposed long-term security deal with Iraq before Congress, this baby as currently proposed is probably dead.

Will the Bush Administration back off this type of stubbornness?

“We don't anticipate now that these negotiations will lead to the status of a formal treaty which would then bring us to formal negotiations or formal inputs from the Congress,” General Douglas Lute, Bush’s deputy national security adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan, said in November when the White House announced the plan.

Here’s Rohrabacher’s recent take:
At a House hearing on the pact (Jan. 23), Rohrabacher, Republican of California and a former Reagan administration official, accused the Bush administration of “arrogance” for not consulting with Congress about the pact. If it includes any guarantees to Iraq, he said, Congress must sign off.

“We are here to fulfill the constitutional role established by the founding fathers,” Rohrabacher said, adding, “It is not all in the hands of the president and his appointees. We play a major role.”

The deal actually goes far beyond a status-of-forces security agreement anyway, including things like debt forgiveness and economic aid, as well as security commitments.

Globe commentator Savage notes that such a sweeping agreement has never been done before without Congressional approval and merely by presidential fiat.

And, this is becoming a political issue too, he notes:
Adding to the pressure, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has also repeatedly raised the topic in recent days. The New York senator has filed legislation that would block the expenditure of funds to implement any agreement with Iraq that was not submitted to Congress for approval. Her rival, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, became a cosponsor to the bill (Jan. 22).

As an I-don’t-give-a-damn lame duck, though, I foresee Bush ploughing ahead, and then daring his successor to retroactively seek Congressional approval, or the current Congress to actually not fund its provisions.