At today's White House press briefing, Dana Perino bemoaned the fact that most congressional Democrats have left town for Thanksgiving -- Virginia Sen. Jim Webb is minding the store to keep George W. Bush from making any recess appointments -- without getting a war-funding bill to the president's desk first.
"Congress, as you know, is away for its two-week break," Perino said. "They did not approve funding for our troops."
Perino has got it exactly backward, of course. The House of Representatives has approved $50 billion of funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; the money just happens to be tied to a plan for a phased withdrawal and a "goal" of having most troops home by the end of 2008. Fifty-three members of the Senate stand ready to approve that measure and send it to the president's desk, but Republicans -- with the help of Joe Lieberman -- have prevented the bill from coming to the Senate floor.
So who's to blame for the parade of horribles Perino has begun trotting out? It seems to us that Democratic Rep. Davd Obey has the better of this argument: "If the president wants that $50 billion released, all he has to do is to call the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, and ask him to stop blocking it," Obey said at a press conference with Rep. Jack Murtha today. "That phone number is 202-224-2541, in case anybody's interested."
Interested? McConnell doesn't seem to be. His office tells us that he has already left Washington for Thanksgiving in Kentucky.