President Bush’s decision to send more troops to Iraq has sparked a clash with a war-weary Congress, and his "surge" policy continues to draw fire at hearings. Yet while Congress controls a number of levers, its Democratic leaders appear intent on taking only a symbolic stand against the new policy.
Authors: Christopher M. Blanchard, Kenneth Katzman, Carol Migdalovitz, Alfred B. Prados, and Jeremy M. Sharp
Congressional Research Service report that provides information about the current perspectives and policies of Iraq’s neighbors; analyzes potential regional responses to continued insurgency, wider sectarian or ethnic violence, and long-term stabilization; discusses shared concerns and U.S. long-term regional interests; and reviews U.S. policy options for responding to various contingencies.
Environmentalists heralded the power shift in Washington with optimism and expectations of a new, greener Congress. But environmental legislation—particularly on global warming—still looks like a tough sell to many legislators on both sides of the aisle.
The new Democratic Congress is looking to spend political capital with a flurry of legislation on everything from green energy initiatives to homeland security. But lawmakers will be spectators when President Bush unveils his new plan for Iraq.
With a new team of Iraq advisers emerging, President Bush looks set to call for a “surge” of more U.S. forces to Iraq. Some critics, including newly empowered congressional Democrats, think the emphasis should be on redeployment from Iraq.
The Democrats now leading both houses of Congress will exercise strong influence on U.S. trade matters. Experts expect a slowdown in action on trade deals and a tough battle for renewal of the presidential trade promotion authority.
Ranking member of House International Relations Committee Rep. Thomas Lantos (D-CA) interviewed by Robert McMahon
The presumptive chair of the House International Relations Committee expects no "silver bullets" to emerge from the Baker commission's report on Iraq. But Rep. Tom Lantos hopes the forthcoming report it will be the basis for a bipartisan effort to change the nature of the U.S. involvement in Iraq.
James M. Lindsay, an expert on Congress and American foreign policy, says in the aftermath of the Democratic Party victories in the midterm elections, many politicians are hoping that the “knight in shining armor” to rescue Iraq policy may lie in the special commission headed by former Secretary of State James Baker and former chairman of the House International Relations Committee, Lee Hamilton.
Polls continue to show Democrats regaining control of at least one house of Congress in the November 7 elections. If this happens, they could exercise greater oversight of executive bodies and trade policy, but they are not expected to press for sharp changes on Iraq.
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