Several Measures Opposing Iraq Troop “Surge” Introduced in Congress

In his State of the Union Address Tuesday night, President Bush asked Congress to not condemn his plan to send 21,500 additional U.S. troops to Iraq off the bat, but to "give it a chance" first. In the face of widespread and growing public opposition to both the plan and the war itself, however, many members are voicing their discontent with Bush’s policy, and some are trying to stop it.

In the Senate, Joe Biden (D-Del.) and John Warner (R-Va.) each introduced non-binding resolutions opposing the "surge." Biden's, which states that “it is not in the national interest of the United States to deepen its military involvement in Iraq,” was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday in a 12-9 vote. All eleven committee Democrats supported the measure, along with Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel (Neb.), who called Bush’s plan “a ping-pong game with American lives.” (video) Warner's resolution is a bit softer in tone, stating that, "The Senate disagrees with the 'plan' to augment our forces by 21,500, and urges the President instead to consider all options and alternatives" in Iraq.

In addition to these resolutions, Sens. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) have each introduced binding bills which would limit President Bush's ability to proceed with an increase in troops. Dodd's requires that any escalation of U.S. forces receive prior authorization by Congress, while Kennedy's prohibits the use of funds for an escalation of U.S. forces above the numbers which existed as of January 9th. In addition to these measures, Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) have both announced plans to introduce binding legislation pertaining to the “surge.” Clinton’s bill would reportedly cap the number of U.S. troops in Iraq at January 1st levels, as well as cut off funds for Iraqi bodyguards and security services unless they increase their efforts to support U.S. troops. Obama’s would reportedly also cap troop levels, as well as call for a phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq.

In the House, Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, reversed a position he took last December by coming out against the “surge” yesterday. His announcement came in the wake of several resolutions and bills introduced in the House opposing the "surge." Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Martin Meehan (D-Mass.), both members of the Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus, a 73-member group chaired by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) which opposes a continued U.S. presence in Iraq, each introduced non-binding resolutions. Kucinich’s, which currently has 33 cosponsors, states, “That it is the sense of Congress that the President should not order an escalation in the total number of members of the United States Armed Forces serving in Iraq.” Meehan’s, which has 46 cosponsors, states, “The sense of the House of Representatives that an increase in the number of members of the United States Forces deployed in Iraq is the wrong course of action and that a drastic shift in the political and diplomatic strategy of the United States is needed to help secure and stabilize Iraq.”

Meanwhile, Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) have each introduced binding bills regarding the "surge." Markey's is a House version of Sen. Kennedy's bill (discussed above), while Jackson's declares that any funds “appropriated or otherwise made available” to the Defense Department may not be spent to increase the number of U.S. forces in Iraq (from their numbers as of January 1st).

Congresspedia has a comprehensive page on the troop "surge" in Iraq, including further details regarding each of the bills/resolutions discussed above. Be sure to check it out, and feel free to make edits if you have additional info.