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White House, Reid spar over Iraq

From NBC's Mark Murray
The White House and the Democratic-controlled Congress have continued their fight over the Iraq emergency spending bill -- by press release. White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino fired off this "Setting the Record Straight" statement earlier this afternoon: "Fifty-three days after President Bush submitted his Iraq war emergency supplemental funding proposal, Democrats in Congress have not yet sent the President a bill he can sign. General Pace has made clear that there will be real consequences if we do not fund the troops by mid-April, and it is troubling that House Democrats have not even appointed conferees to resolve the differences between versions passed by the House and Senate. Instead of playing politics, Democrats should fund the troops with a bill that does not force retreat, handcuff our commanders, or contain billions of dollars in pork spending."

Yet Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid countered with his own press release, which attached a Congressional Research Service report concluding that the Army can meet its financial needs well into July. "This study confirms that the President is once again attempting to mislead the public and create an artificial atmosphere of anxiety. He is using scare tactics to defeat bipartisan legislation that would change course in Iraq… Instead of holding press events to score political points, I call upon the President to tone down his rhetoric, stop the veto threats of a bill he has not yet seen, and sit down with the congressional leadership to discuss how our two co-equal branches of government can get an emergency spending bill passed."