"The Defense Department's top civilian and its top military officer, undercutting the White House and other senior Republicans yesterday, said Congress doesn't endanger troop morale by voting on nonbinding resolutions opposing President Bush's Iraq reinforcement plan," the Washington Times says. "The two men's comments are in stark contrast to arguments made by Republicans, including the president's spokesman, Tony Snow, that a debate on resolutions could have an effect on the troops."
Bush's proposed war budget is prompting questions from the Congressional Budget Office and analysts over how much money Bush is requesting for the war and how much for future projects that could have no effect on troops and soldiers in the field now. The Boston Globe says "independent budget analysts expressed concern that the Pentagon is seeking extra dollars for non-Iraq-specific projects that have either spiraled in cost or are facing constraints in the regular defense budget."
The New York Times reports that "House Democrats will meet behind closed doors Thursday in an attempt to agree on language of the Iraq resolution to be debated next week. While many Democrats want to push legislation aimed at blocking financing for the war, a plan that has emerged among the leadership is simply to have representatives cast a vote to support or reject the president's plan."
USA Today raises the question of "how broad a bipartisan majority the resolution will attract… Democrats have differences of opinion, too. On Tuesday night, senior House Democrats were huddling in an attempt to come up with wording measured enough to attract" more than a handful of Republicans, "but also tough enough to satisfy Democrats who want to issue more than a symbolic protest."
Columnist Robert Novak says flatly that Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell prevented "passage of an anti-surge resolution at the cost of making his party look obstructionist." Novak writes that "McConnell's maiden voyage as party floor leader showed that he may be too much into process," but also that "Reid overreached while trying to control the action. The developments also showed less than full control of his own Democratic caucus."
"…[A]s the politics heat up over the Iraq war, Democratic leaders increasingly are being drawn to" VoteVets.org, which appears to be "the most active group trying to influence the debate about the president's plan to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq," says the Washington Post. "VoteVets.org has 20,000 members, including 1,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan... The PAC is part of a coalition of left-leaning groups organized by Americans United for Change that includes labor unions and liberal groups such as MoveOn.org."
Is it time for another round of stories about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's waning popularity? Bloomberg looks at how Rice's stature has suffered along with the Administration's foreign policy efforts.
The Financial Times reports that per a senior US official, "the administration would soon go ahead with a twice-postponed presentation of 'evidence' that would demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that Iran was arming Shia factions in Iraq and providing explosives used against US forces."