Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hope for Compromise

Tension continues to mount in Washington, D.C. as the Senate voted 51-46 today in favor the 2007 supplemental spending bill, which includes a goal for troop withdrawal set for next year. Today's Senate vote follows the bill's narrow passage in the House by a 218-208 vote. Both votes were divided largely along party lines.

Although the measure passed both chambers of Congress, the White House is reiterating President Bush's intent to veto. To override a Presidential veto, Democrats would need 67 votes in the Senate and 290 in the House -- much more support than was secured for this week's votes.

In the midst of all this contention, it is leaving some people to wonder if common ground on Iraq is even possible. The spending bill is crucial, as funds for operations in Iraq will soon run out. For example, U.S. funding for some critical development programs that support Iraqi civil society organizations is expected to run out in June. Which brings us to the question: Can the parties involved reach a compromise?

According to recent precedent, the answer is yes. After 9 months of reviewing all of the available facts and thoughful deliberation, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group was able to reach a consensus. Released on December 6th of last year, the 84-page report provides an honest assessment of the situation in Iraq and outlines key recommendations for a responsible way forward. For more on this report, check out our blog from last December.

Despite pledges from Congress and President Bush to "consider" the recommendations, the Iraq Study Group Report was quickly tabled by both sides. But in the midst the current debate over the FY 2007 supplemental, the report -- and particularly the attractiveness of its bipartisan recommendations -- has begun to resurface. As one barometer, here's a sampling of editorials and op-eds that have appeared on the opinion pages of the Washington Post and New York Times (including op-eds by both of the co-chairs of the Iraq Study Group report):

Standoff on Iraq
Washington Post editorial
Monday, April 16, 2007

A Partnership on Iraq
By Lee H. Hamilton
The Washington Post
Sunday, March 25, 2007; Page B07

A Path to Common Ground
The Iraq Study Group Plan Could Break the Logjam
By James A. Baker III
The Washington Post
Thursday, April 5, 2007; Page A17

Back to Baker-Hamilton
By David Ignatius
The Washington Post
Wednesday, April 4, 2007; Page A13

What About Those Other Iraq Deadlines?
By Leon E. Panetta
The New York Times
Wednesday, April 4, 2007

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