Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Senator Byrd Introduces "Iran" Amendments to the Defense Appropriations Bill

Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) introduced Amendment No. 3123 and No. 3133 to the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Appropriations bill. The amendments would prohibit funding provided by the bill to be used for military operations or activities against any other country without explicit Congressional authorization. The text of both amendments is identical and I'm unsure why two identical amendments were submitted. The amendments do provide exceptions for certain activities. Though the amendments employ a non-country-specific approach similar to Senator Byrd's S. Res. 39, the enactment of either amendment could prevent a military confrontation with Iran. Below is the text of Amendments 3123 and 3133.

Sec. 8107. (a) None of the amounts appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be obligated or expended for military operations or activities against any other country without the enactment of an Act or the passage of a resolution passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives specifically authorizing such obligation or expenditure.

(b) The prohibition in subsection (a) shall not apply with respect to the following military operations or activities:

(1) Military operations or activities to directly repel an attack against the territory or the Armed Forces of the United States.

(2) Military operations or activities in hot pursuit of hostile forces who are directly engaged in combat operations against the Armed Forces of the United States.

(3) Intelligence collection activities of which Congress has been appropriately notified under applicable law.

(c) Not later than 48 hours after determining to obligate or expend amounts otherwise prohibited from obligation or expenditure under subsection (a) for purposes of a military operation or activity described in subsection (b), the President shall submit to the Committee on Armed Forces and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate and the Committee on Armed Forces and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives a report on such determination, including a justification for the determination.

(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the authority of the President under Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution of the United States.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Byrd is the most senior Senate Democrat, however if the amendment splits Democrats Senate Democratic leaders may block it. The Biden amendment to the Defense Authorization bill continues to be condemned in the Middle East. Most recently it was Kuwait's ruler, whose implication was clearly that the 70+ Senators who voted for the amendment were totally incompetent in their understanding of Iraq.

The postponement of the 3rd round of sanctions against Iran is intended to send a positive signal to Iran, and China and Russia's position is that the Security Council should concentrate exclusively on supporting the IAEA efforts to clear up remaining issues in the Iranian nuclear program. Iran has promised to do so in which case most sanctions by the Group of 6, excluding the US, could be lifted.

Congress is heavily corrupted by the pro-Israel lobby and that's really why they are pressing for more sanctions against Iran. Republicans especially are in desperate need of campaign contributions and other assistance for the 2008 elections. The pro-Israel lobbies are more than glad to provide that assistance in return for votes they want and other influence. I therefore fear more amendments like Kyl-Lieberman may pass.

Also the Washington Post interviewed Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie for an article titled Iraqi Official Says Iran Has Escalated Involvement in Iraq. Al-Rubaie said the more pressure the US applies on Iran at the UN and with punitive sanctions, the more tensions are likely to play out in Iraq. "Iran will have no choice," Rubaie said. "We are going to pay a heavy price for the escalation between Iran and the United States."