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Democrats Seek Consensus on War Funding

Most, if not all, of the Democrats in the Senate want the war in Iraq to be over. Some want U.S. troops to be withdrawn immediately. Yet when pressed, many of them also plan to vote to continue funding the war. That makes a consensus — and a strategy — hard to come by.

In the House, Democrats are talking about adding equipment, training and rest requirements for troop deployments to Iraq; their Senate counterparts are talking about redefining the scope of the U.S. mission in Iraq. There's little talk, though, of cutting funding — unless, of course, you're listening to Republicans like Texas Sen. John Cornyn.

"If my colleagues on the other side of the aisle feel so strongly, as some of them clearly do, about the conflict in Iraq," Cornyn says, "then they have the obligation i believe to cut off funding."

Republicans are practically daring Democrats to cut funding, but the majority party's leaders are not taking the bait. As Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told reporters last night, "Let me be clear: we will fund the troops as long as they are in harm's way."

Like Pelosi, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin voted more than four years ago against authorizing President Bush to invade Iraq. Still, in a speech yesterday on the Senate floor, Durbin vowed he'll keep funding that war.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

David Welna
David Welna is NPR's national security correspondent.