The Dance Continues

Just in case their previous statement was too ambiguous, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) joined with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to reject a meeting with President Bush next week if he insists on preconditions in their negotiations over a spending bill to fund the war in Iraq.

“What the president invited us to do was come to his office so that we could accept, without any discussion, the bill that he wants,” Pelosi said at an afternoon news conference in San Francisco to discuss her trip to the Middle East last week. “That's not worthy of the concerns of the American people. And I join with Senator Reid in rejecting an invitation of that kind.”

Earlier in the day, Reid told reporters that he would not sit down with Bush unless the president were open to negotiate with the Democratic leaders about the specifics of the bill.

Bush invited congressional leaders from both chambers to meet with him next week in the White House to discuss the terms of a war-funding bill. Republican aides on the Hill suggested the meeting would be more lecture than discussion, with Bush delivering an ultimatum to Democratic leaders to move a “clean” spending bill without benchmarks or excessive non-military funds.

Despite rejecting the terms of Bush’s invite yesterday, the speaker acknowledged that most Americans expect both parties to work together in crafting a workable solution to the war.

“The American people want us to work together,” Pelosi said. “They want us to fund the troops. They want us to wind down this war, and let's work together to do that."