March 28, 2007
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
Last week the House of Representatives on a bipartisan vote passed an emergency supplemental spending bill. The Senate is poised to pass its version of the bill as soon as later today. Both bills contain much needed funding for our troops and our veterans. Both bills also chart a new course forward in Iraq. Given the importance and urgency of this legislation to our troops and our security, we are quite disturbed by your insistence to veto it. Rather than work with the Congress to develop a bill you could sign, you apparently intend to follow a political strategy that would needlessly delay funding for our troops.
Both the House and Senate versions of this legislation address critical priorities that were either ignored or substantially under-funded by your Administration in the regular budget process. For example, despite the fact that our troops have been fighting in Afghanistan since 2001 and in Iraq since 2003, your regular budget submission to the Congress did not include funding for either war. Your regular budget also failed to adequately address the urgent veteranâ€™s health care crisis, vulnerabilities in our homeland security, and the needs of thousands of victims of several severe natural disasters. This Congress is taking the responsible course and responding to needs that have been ignored by your Administration and the prior Congress.
The House and Senate bills also contain important provisions rejecting a continuation of the Iraq policy your Administration has pursued for more than four years. The Iraq provisions are based on the statements by General Petraeus and other senior military leaders that there is no military solution in Iraq. Their collective judgment leads to the inescapable conclusion that U.S. forces should not be trying to contain an Iraqi civil war. Rather, bipartisan majorities in the House and the Senate believe strongly that the U.S. mission should be transitioned to counter-terrorism, force protection, and training and equipping the Iraqi security forces, and that a phased redeployment of U.S. forces should commence.
Mr. President, this is the time to sit down and work together on behalf of the American people and our troops. We stand ready to work with you, but your threats to veto a bill that has not even been presented to you indicate that you may not be ready to work with us. We hope that is not the case.
In other words the Democrats are willing to compromise – something Bush will most likely resist.
Something else is coming out of this besides the Democrats listening to the American people. We now have a Congress telling the President he is not the “decider”. Our founders worked to prevent that with the three equal branches of government. Bush expects to ask for money and get it, no questions asked. Those days of “rubber stamping” ended last November. If Bush was expected to get everything he demands then the power of the purse would not lie in Congress, but rather with the President. This is a critical part of our nation’s balance of power.
Bush will veto this bill and it will be a hard job for the Democrats to get the message out that he was the one denying the funds to our troops. The reason for that is simple; when Bush speaks the media drops everything to cover it. I am expecting a prime-time Presidential address out of this veto, or even a press conference. The media will cover it, but then when the Democratic leadership responds, the media will be on to the next missing blonde or celebrity gone wild. This makes it very hard for the message to get out, but with the combined force of the blogosphere we can trump the media’s lack of attention to details.