A GOP alternative: Escalation with oversight

House Republicans say Congress should monitor rather than criticize Bush's Iraq plan.

Published January 22, 2007 9:59PM (EST)

If Republicans in Congress are looking for a lifeline on Iraq -- a way to distance themselves from George W. Bush's new plan without dissing the president or aligning themselves too closely with the Democrats -- John Boehner and Roy Blunt just seem to have thrown them one.

Boehner and Blunt are proposing the creation of a "bipartisan select panel charged with monitoring the implementation" of Bush's escalation. "Before anyone in the House moves to disavow the war or cut funding for the president's policy in Iraq, we propose that Congress exercise its important constitutional responsibility for oversight of the plan," Blunt says in a statement issued by his office.

The idea seems rooted in the president's conception of what working with Congress means: He does what he wants, and Congress can complain later if it wants -- at which point the president's supporters can say that Congress is wasting its time looking backward when it's really time to move forward.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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Iraq War John Boehner R-ohio