Thursday, July 19, 2007

House Turns Back to Iraq

I pointed out yesterday at the Standard that the House of Representatives is planning to return next week to debating Iraq. Today Congressional Quarterly offers a little more detail on what to expect in two weeks -- but still no information on what the House will consider next week:

In the House, a withdrawal proposal is not expected during the markup of the Defense spending bill, a Democratic aide said. Instead, one likely amendment would establish minimal standards for training and equipping units before deployment. Another would require military personnel spend as much time at home between tours as they do deployed. A third would ban permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq.

Either John P. Murtha, D-Pa., the Defense subcommittee chairman, or James P. Moran, D-Va., a member of the panel, will propose an amendment in the committee that would reduce funding for the detention center at Guant?!namo Bay, Cuba, and require the closing of the facility within 180 days, both lawmakers have said.

The Defense appropriations bill won’t come to the House floor until the week before the August recess, meaning that next week’s Iraq vote on the House floor would have to be a stand-alone bill or an amendment to another measure...

Following a Republican member lunch Wednesday with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and hosted by Minority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., House Republicans seemed confident that they could hold solidarity until General David H. Petraeus, the top military commander in Iraq, delivers his much anticipated September report on progress there.

“Everybody’s waiting for September 15th,” said Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., upon emerging from the Gates meeting.

On that note, go check out the interview Hugh Hewitt did with David Petraeus.

More broadly, the House continues to rehash well-worn ground on Iraq, rather than vote on energy, health care, and other issues that the American people view as priorities.

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