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Feingold can't support 'toothless benchmarks'
Nick Juliano
Published: Tuesday May 22, 2007
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One of the Democrats leading anti-war voices accused his party of abandoning its priorities and ignoring the will of the American people in preparing to send the president a bill that would fund the Iraq war without requiring any consequences for a continued lack of progress there.

"I cannot support a bill that contains nothing more than toothless benchmarks and that allows the President to continue what may be the greatest foreign policy blunder in our nation's history," Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisc., said in a statement released Tuesday. "There has been a lot of tough talk from members of Congress about wanting to end this war, but it looks like the desire for political comfort won out over real action."

Feingold sponsored a measure last week that would have begun bringing troops home from Iraq within three months. Only 29 senators supported the withdrawal bill, and Congressional leaders are negotiating with the White House on a measure to provide more than $90 billion to fund the war effort through September.

The White House has said any bill that includes a timetable will be vetoed by the president. Negotiators say the measure is likely to call for benchmarks on progress in Iraq, which could trigger cuts in aid to the country if they are not met, but the president is expected to have the right to waive compliance with the requirements.

The compromise legislation is expected to mirror an amendment introduced last week by Sen. John Warner, R-Va., that would have imposed the same stipulations, as RAW STORY reported last week.

In a diary posted Tuesday on the Democratic community blog Daily Kos, Feingold called the negotiations "a collapse for Democrats." He has vowed not to support a bill that does not include a timetable for withdrawal.

"This is no time to back down," Feingold wrote. "This fight to end the war isnít something that we can just put off or kick down the road."