Senate Democrats

Republicans Are Breaking From The President On Iraq

With our troops mired in the middle of a civil war, U.S. casualties mounting, and terrorist attacks up across the globe, some Congressional Republicans are beginning to realize that the current path in Iraq is unsustainable. There is hope that they will put the interests of the country ahead of protecting the President.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH):  “Over the course of the next three to four months, we’ll have some idea how well the plan’s working. Early signs are indicating there is clearly some success on a number of fronts.  But, by the time we get to September or October, members are going to want to know how well this is working, and if it isn’t, what’s Plan B.” (AP, 5/6/07) 

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME): “Obviously, the president would prefer a straight funding bill with no benchmarks, no conditions, no reports . . .Many of us, on both sides of the aisle, don’t see that as viable.” (Los Angeles Times, 5/3/07

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME): “We can’t be there in an open-ended fashion . . . We have to say: how long does it really take to pass the benchmarks?” (Bloomberg, 5/2/07

Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH): 

  • “’I would tell him on the war that I would try to extricate myself as gracefully as I possibly can.’ Voinovich said that Bush must stress anew to the Iraqis that American support ‘is not open-ended. We’ve got to let these people know that we’re on our way out, and it’s going to be your baby.’” (Columbus Dispatch, 5/6/07)
  • “Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, is even less delicate as he acknowledges that the President has no choice but to compromise with congressional Democrats and accept conditions under which the war can continue. At a minimum, the Iraqi government — or what passes for one — must reduce the sectarian anarchy and bloodshed that make the U.S. military presence in that country so dangerous. ‘That’s how it’s done,’ explains Mr. Voinovich. ‘Everybody holds their nose and maybe a couple of times vomits, but you get it done.’” (Albany Times Union, 5/3/07)

House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO):  “House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said last week that he was not concerned in the short term about a party split on the war but acknowledged that results on the ground need to improve. And in a sign that Republicans also are restless to see changes, Blunt and other Republicans could support binding benchmarks on the Iraqi government tied to a ‘consequences package,’ so long as it would not put restrictions on the military.” (Roll Call, 4/30/07) 

Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE): “Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.), a leading moderate, said many Republicans are looking for a way out of Iraq, and he hopes that the Democrats will work with them after Bush likely vetoes the $124 billion war supplemental this week. ‘I think a lot of us feel that the time has come for us to look for solutions to bring this war to a close,’ Castle said. ‘And I don’t think that’s just a feeling among moderate Republicans but among Republicans in general.’ Castle said Republicans of all stripes ‘are very reluctant to put in dates on our Army’ but said that other ideas, including Blunt’s talk of a ‘consequences package’ for the Iraqi government, could bring the parties together. (Roll Call, 4/30/07)

Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA):  “We have to be engaged developing our own proposals and not just going along with what the executive branch is doing.” (Los Angeles Times, 5/3/07)

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA):  “Rep. Jack Kingston, a Georgia Republican who has supported Bush’s war strategy even as the public has turned against it, said, ‘The marketplace has become ripe for a new idea.’” (Los Angeles Times, 5/3/07

Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC):  “But a new dynamic also is at work, with some Republicans now saying that funding further military operations in Iraq with no strings attached does not make practical or political sense. Rep. Bob Inglis (S.C.), a conservative who opposed the first funding bill, said, ‘The hallway talk is very different from the podium talk.’” (Washington Post, 5/3/07)