Democrats place politics above war
House leaders delayed consideration of Rep. Neil Abercrombie's bill for the Pentagon to produce a plan for withdrawal from Iraq.
CONGRESS broke for its August vacation after a bitter partisan battle in the House, with Democrats putting off most votes about Iraq to deny Republican members the opportunity to display concern about the war. To his credit, Rep. Neil Abercrombie at one point denounced his party leadership's strategy as putting politics above war.
Abercrombie obtained a bipartisan 55-2 vote in the House Armed Services Committee on July 27 for his bill that would require the Pentagon to provide Congress with plans within 60 days for a troop withdrawal from Iraq. "The one thing that would actually advance the agenda would be to get a redeployment plan," Abercrombie said.
He was hoping to obtain a full House vote on his bill before the August break, but Democratic leaders stood in his way. The party's leaders chose to deny Republicans the opportunity to mollify their constituents during the recess by having gone on record against the Bush administration's policy in Iraq.
"They are going to have to make a decision over the summer whether they are going to continue to be George Bush's rubber stamp or be part of the voices for change in Iraq," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the House Democratic Congress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "We have to discuss the timing" of the Abercrombie bill.
By one account, Abercrombie threw a tantrum on the House floor, calling immediately but unsuccessfully for the House's adjournment. His anger was well placed.
"I would hate to be in a situation where the Democratic Party was trying to explain that it wants to score political points rather than end the war," Abercrombie said.
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