Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Via the Washington Times, Sen. Webb (D-VA) proposes another winner in the seeming failure of the "grand bargain": freshman Democratic senators:

Sen. James H. Webb Jr. says a new political power emerged in the Senate during the immigration debate: a group of freshman Democrats who bucked the chamber's leaders and sided with American workers, and who now turn their attention to bringing accountability to the war in Iraq.

"On the immigration bill, that was where the first clear announcement of independence occurred, sitting there talking among ourselves about what had happened out in the campaign trail," the Virginia Democrat told editors and reporters yesterday at The Washington Times, explaining how he and many other Democrats balked at the bill written by Republican and Democratic leaders.

Indeed, five of the nine freshman Democrats (if you include Sanders, who caucuses with the Democrats) voted against cloture: Brown (OH), McCaskill (MO), Sanders (VT), Tester (MT), and Webb (VA). These 9 freshmen are now proposing an amendment to the Iraq funding bill that would create a "Commission on Wartime Contracting."

Webb also criticizes the administration's record of enforcement:

He said Congress should not wait until 2009 to tackle the security side, and said they need to put money into the pipeline now, even though he doesn't see much enthusiasm in the Bush administration for enforcing laws such as employer sanctions.

"They can enforce it right now. They don't even need any more money," he said.