From CQ Politics – Josh Rogan
Senate Democrats moved closer Tuesday toward acceding to the Bush administration’s demands on war funding.
With a growing number of lawmakers deciding that legislation providing some money to the troops could not be put off until next year, the Senate Democratic leadership discussed different approaches to preserving some of the many restrictions on the war funding that House Democrats passed.
Aides said the Senate could hold a series of votes this month, each with progressively less restrictive language on the administration’s ability to conduct the war.
The options that Senate leaders were considering included omitting withdrawal dates or designating funds only for Afghanistan.
However, with the Senate’s legislative calendar already full for the remainder of the year, a consensus appeared to be growing that a prolonged fight over Iraq policy with President Bush probably would have to wait until next spring.
Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin , D-Ill., said that Senate votes on Iraq War funding probably would not come until next week.
Durbin acknowledged that Democrats probably had no choice but to abandon many, if not all, of the restrictions they hoped to place on funding for the wars.
“We’re dealing with the reality that the White House has given us very stark choices,” Durbin said. “We’re still determined to change this policy in Iraq, but we’re trying to do it in the context of the latest White House positions.”
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans, increasingly confident that the Democrats will fold and provide war funding with weak or no restrictions, showed little appetite to negotiate.
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