Senators Square Off on Iraq Funding

Congress anticipates presidential veto.

ByABC News
April 29, 2007, 4:49 PM

April 29, 2007 — -- With Congress expecting President Bush's veto of the Iraq funding bill, Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., presented two different scenarios today for where to go from here.

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos on "This Week," Brownback advocated a political "three state, one country federated solution in Iraq." The Republican presidential hopeful's suggestion makes him the unlikely ally of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del. Biden initially suggested the loose federation of autonomous Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni regions in May 2006.

"I've reached out to Sen. Biden," Brownback said. "I think this is the only long-term, durable political solution for us to move forward."

Brownback warned that legislating a deadline for troop withdrawal is tantamount to legislating defeat. "A deadline -- I think the day we pass it -- al Qaeda declares victory over us and much of the world will agree," Brownback said.

Brownback emphasized that the U.S. timeline in Iraq is finite, but focused on the need for aggressive political pressure on Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki to resolve sectarian violence.

Feingold responded that he was dismayed by what he called the Bush administration's "disregard and disrespect for the will of the American people."

"American troops are dying for no good reason at this point. They are in a situation where they are being sacrificed because people want political comfort in Washington," Feingold said.

When asked if he would try to defeat any funding bill that did not include a timeline for the withdrawal of American forces, Feingold said, "Unless there is some other binding proposal, not just benchmarks, or something else that begins to end this war and shows areal plan for ending the war, absolutely."

Feingold stopped short of agreeing with the recent comment from Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., that the war in Iraq was "lost," but suggested that the country's current prospects looked dim. Feingold said, "This war was won militarily years ago, but if we're talking about this occupation succeeding, if this situation is getting better, if our troops are there for a good reason, at this point, the answer is no."