Senator Feingold asks, 'How can Congress end a war?'

Brian Beutler
Published: Tuesday January 23, 2007
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Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) will hold hearings next week to examine “Exercising Congress’s Constitutional Power to End a War,” RAW STORY has learned.

The Judiciary Committee hearings are scheduled for Tuesday, January 30. However, because that committee has to announce hearings several days in advance, details are often not forthcoming or have not yet been disclosed.

Since Congress came back into session earlier this month, observers have wondered whether it will use its funding power to try to force the redeployment of troops from Iraq. Since President Bush announced plans to escalate the war—plans marked by a "surge" of 21,500 troops—a handful of non-binding bills of varying severity have been introduced by both Democratic and Republican senators expressing disapproval.

Well before those bills were announced, though, Feingold offered legislation of his own to the Foreign Relations Committee designed to end the war completely. If passed, that bill—cosponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)—would give the Department of Defense 60 days to submit and implement a strategy to remove troops from Iraq almost entirely. That plan, once approved by Congress, would have to be implemented within 180 days of the bill's enactment. Under its terms it would "[maintain] in Iraq the minimal level of United States forces sufficient to engage directly in targeted counterterrorism activities, train Iraq security forces, and protect United States infrastructure and personnel."

However, that bill will not be at play during Feingold's Judiciary Committee hearings next week. There is no word yet on whether he plans to introduce any new legislation then, although an aide on that committee expects that, "once the committee organizes on Thursday this will be a subcommittee hearing." Feingold is chairman of the Judiciary’s Constitution Subcommittee, and also serves on the Budget, Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees.

Now in his fourteenth year as a senator, Feingold recently ruled out a bid for the presidency in 2008, saying he’d be more effective on Capitol Hill than as Commander in Chief.