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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Presidential poison pen

So far, in more than six years of governing, President Bush has vetoed exactly one piece of legislation -- on stem cell research. It is a remarkable record, though the President has expressed fairly strong dissent from congressional action through his unprecedented extensive use of so-called "signing statements."

Now, the President is threatening to use the veto to stop Democratic efforts to end the war in Iraq (and for lots of other purposes too).

Unfortunately for Senate Republicans, who could almost surely stop the anti-war legislation with a filibuster, the Democratic proposal is popular. Today's Washington Post reveals the polling data:
A new Pew Research Center poll found that 59 percent of people surveyed want their congressional representative to support a bill calling for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq by August 2008, the deadline set in the House version of the spending bill, which passed by a 218 to 212 vote on Friday. Thirty-three percent of respondents said they wanted their representative to oppose it.
Apparently, the Republicans have decided that they don't want to lose the 2008 congressional elections on the issue of Iraq -- so President Bush is going to have to overturn the anti-war legislation with his own hand.

According to the Post article, the Republicans might be able to extract the withdrawal dates from the bill that passes their chamber, but the measure could well survive the conference committee with the House.

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