Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Thursday, April 27, 2006

  The House finally to debate the Iraq War?

That's the scoop from The Hill today. The report suggests that John Boehner gave way to growing pressure from some Republicans to allow the House to debate the Iraq war at length.

House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) told Republican colleagues yesterday that they will have a full and lengthy floor debate on the Iraq war, a dramatic change of course for GOP leaders who had previously resisted Republican and Democratic calls for such a debate.

Four House Republicans have signed a Democratic-sponsored discharge petition that would begin 17 hours of debate over Iraq on the House floor. The Republicans signed on because GOP leaders had ignored their requests for a debate, said Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), one of the four mavericks.

Boehner told colleagues about his plan for debate on Iraq yesterday morning during a closed-door meeting of the Republican Conference that was mostly devoted to discussing soaring gas prices. Boehner's remarks, which were unexpected, caused a hush to fall over the audience, said Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.), who attended the meeting and is one of the four GOP signatories to the Democratic discharge petition.

Yet The Hill's account also raises doubts about how serious or substantive the actual debate, if it transpires, may turn out to be. Boehner states that the House will not debate any of the resolutions that have been put forward to date, not even the bipartisan one sponsored by Rep. Neil Abercrombie. Instead, says Boehner:

they would debate a resolution produced by the Republican-controlled House International Relations Committee, but it is unknown what form that resolution will take....

Sam Stratman, the committee's spokesman, said yesterday that he had not heard anything about crafting a resolution on the Iraq war.

"This is very strange. I haven't heard anything about it," he said.

It is very strange indeed. What is going on here? Does this reflect a decison by the Republican leadership that they need, finally, to discuss the Iraq War openly? Will there be a serious, substantive debate?

Or is this merely an occasion to give the appearance of seriousness, and the appearance of bipartisanship? The mysterious way in which this decision is being unshrouded gives the impression that this will be little more than an election-year stunt. It will be interesting to see, if the debate actually transpires, whether the resolution will be couched once again (as the debate about Rep. Murtha's resolution last December was) in terms designed to embarrass Democrats. You will recall that it was not Murtha's resolution that was debated, but instead a straw-man resolution from Duncan Hunter.

In any case, this has the potential, if handled well by the Democrats, to move the national debate on Iraq forward. It also has the potential to become another opportunity lost.

Crossposted at Booman Tribune.


  • This is weird news. I wonder what is going on? I saw the story about the delay in the ethics vote in the news, but absolutely nothing about this story has made it into the main stream media.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:42 PM  

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