From NBC's Mike Viqueira
Rep. Jack Murtha (D) says that he has figured out a way to stop Bush's so-called troop "surge" before it is completed, while still maintaining Speaker Nancy Pelosi's pledge not to cut off funding for "troops in the field." He tells MoveCongress.org in a Web cast this morning that he plans to attach strings to the president's $100 billion war funding bill that will effectively force the Administration to stall the troop increase.
The provisions he proposes include:
-- prohibiting the Pentagon from sending people back into battle until they have had a year at home after being deployed. He says he has figured out that in order to fulfill the surge requirements, the Defense Department would have to send people back after seven months at home;
-- prohibiting the Pentagon from extending tours;
-- ending the Pentagon's "stop loss" policy;
-- and prohibiting the establishment of permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq.
He says that the Pentagon would have to "certify" that any units deployed in the future were "combat ready." In addition, Murtha says that he is "considering" adding provisions to close Guantanamo and "bulldoze" Abu Ghraib. If his measures are enacted, he says, "they won't be able to continue, they won't be able to do the deployment." Murtha's defense appropriations subcommittee is the first stop in Congress for the president's $100 billion request for the remainder of this fiscal year. He says that it will be reported out of committee on March 15 and taken up by the House shortly thereafter.