Now that the Senate has fumbled the debate over Iraq, House Democratic leaders have decided to pick up the ball and run with it.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters Tuesday morning that Democrats would open the House floor in one week for three full days of debate on the president's plan to surge more troops into Iraq. At the end of the debate, which will allow time for nearly every member of Congress to speak, the House will vote next Thursday on a nonbinding resolution currently being drafted by Ike Skelton, D-Mo., and Tom Lantos, D-Calif., who chair the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, respectively.
The exact language of the resolution is likely to be released in the next couple of days and is expected to mirror much of the language in the bipartisan resolution sponsored by Sen. John Warner, R-Va., and Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., in the Senate. That proposal "disagrees with the 'plan' to augment our forces by 21,500" and urges the president to consider other options. "We had said for a long period of time that we would follow the Senate," Hoyer explained in the morning meeting. But the Senate deadlock has changed everything. "The Senate has different challenges than we do," Hoyer said.