President Bush is widely expected to announce a plan next week to increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq by at least 20,000. Congress may not cooperate.
In an interview with Arianna Huffington, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), the chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Committee, said he intends to block funding for any escalation plan. An excerpt:
When we asked about the likelihood of the president sending additional troops to Iraq, Murtha was adamant. “The only way you can have a troop surge,” he told us, “is to extend the tours of people whose tours have already been extended, or to send back people who have just gotten back home.” He explained at length how our military forces are already stretched to the breaking point, with our strategic reserve so depleted we are unprepared to face any additional threats to the country. So does that mean there will be no surge? Murtha offered us a “with Bush anything is possible” look, then said: “Money is the only way we can stop it for sure.”…
He says he wants to “fence the funding,” denying the president the resources to escalate the war, instead using the money to take care of the soldiers as we bring them home from Iraq “as soon as we can.”
A memo from the Center for American Progress, released December 27, recommends “an amendment on the supplemental funding bill that states that if the administration wants to increase the number of troops in Iraq above 150,000, it must provide a plan for their purpose and require an up or down vote on exceeding that number.”