Blitzer misrepresented Feingold-Reid Iraq amendment


On the May 14 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer claimed that legislation sponsored by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) would "just stop the funding" for the Iraq war. In fact, the amendment stipulates that no funds may be appropriated to continue the deployment of U.S. forces in Iraq after March 31, 2008, but allows for three exceptions -- operations against Al Qaeda and other international terrorist groups, protection of U.S. personnel and infrastructure, and training and equipping Iraqi security services.

The Washington Post reported on May 15 that the Feingold-Reid amendment, which mirrors a bill Feingold proposed in April, will be attached to "unrelated water-resources legislation" and will be voted upon by the Senate "this week."

From the May 14 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

DANA BASH (CNN congressional correspondent): It certainly sounds like process, but it is a telling sign of the politics at play here -- and that is that the Senate majority leader has conflicting goals.

On the one hand, he has an urgent deadline. He's got to pass a war funding bill the president will sign in the next two weeks, by Memorial Day. And in order to do that, he needs Republican votes. But, on the other hand, he has to keep satisfying rank and file Democrats who don't want to give up on their goal to tie funding for the war to troops coming home.

So he's going to have these two votes before they get down to the nitty-gritty on negotiations -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And the first one would be on just stop the funding, which Russ Feingold and Harry Reid themselves support. That's likely to fail.

In fact, according to the text of the legislation:

(c) Prohibition on Use of Funds -- No funds appropriated or otherwise made available under any provision of law may be obligated or expended to continue the deployment in Iraq of members of the United States Armed Forces after March 31, 2008.

(d) Exception for Limited Purposes -- The prohibition under subsection (c) shall not apply to the obligation or expenditure of funds for the limited purposes as follows:

(1) To conduct targeted operations, limited in duration and scope, against members of al Qaeda and other international terrorist organizations.

(2) To provide security for United States infrastructure and personnel.

(3) To train and equip Iraqi security services.

Posted In
Government, The Senate, National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Iraq
Wolf Blitzer
The Situation Room
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