After President Bush's veto of the emergency funding bill for the troops in Iraq, Democrats in Congress are moving into overdrive to firm up and pass Plan B: a bill the President will sign. Or one that has enough support to override a veto.
The plan emerging as the most popular among Democrats in the House of Representatives is one that would parse out money for the troops in two halves. Here's how it could work:
Step 1: $43 billion would be provided immediately, enough to fund the war through August.
Step 2: President Bush would have to give a convincing progress report to Congress in July.
Step 3: Congress would then decide whether to attach strings-- such as benchmarks and deadlines for troop withdrawals-- to $53 billion more in funds.
The White House doesn't like the idea a bit, and neither do some lead Republicans in Congress who say the plan treats the troops like children getting a monthly allowance.
House Democrats still have some details to work out, but they want a fast vote, possibly as soon as Thursday. If passed, it would go onto the Senate and then the President. If he vetoes it, everyone might just end up, once again, back at square one.
Meantime, even if a bill is passed and signed, it only resolves the issue of funding for the Iraq war for what remains of this fiscal year: in other words for the next four and a half months. Which means it won't be long before the whole fight over funding for the war starts up again.