Wednesday, January 10, 2007


McConnell Claims Congress Can’t Restrict Funds For Iraq, Voted To Restrict Clinton In Somalia

Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) came out against the Kennedy bill requiring President Bush to gain new congressional authority before escalating the war in Iraq. “I think it is inappropriate for the Congress to try to micromanage, in effect, the tactics in a military conflict,” McConnell said. “I don’t think Congress has the authority to do it.

But Congress does have the authority to use “several different policy levers to guide U.S. national security policy as it relates to the deployment of American troops.” Congress has done so many times over the last 35 years.

In November 1993, McConnell supported a move by Congress to place limits on military spending for U.S. troop deployments in Somalia. Section 8151 of Public Law 103-139 “limited the use of funding in Somalia for operations of U.S. military personnel only until March 31, 1994″ and permitted “expenditure of funds for the mission thereafter only if the president sought and Congress provided specific authorization.”

The language passed the Senate as an amendment introduced by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV). McConnell voted for it. He also spoke on the Senate floor about the legislation:

The narrow issue before us tonight is simply how do you leave? We are leaving, we all agree on that. … The only issue here tonight is how we leave and, in my judgment, the Byrd amendment better defines the proper exit for the United States in this most unfortunate experience in Somalia, at least since May. [Congressional Record, S13447, 10/14/93]

It’s one thing for McConnell to support Bush’s escalation plan. It’s another to mislead about what Congress can do to stop it.

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