first_imgSen. Joseph R. Biden of Delaware said that he had proposed in January the idea of repealing the authority for the war resolution. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut praised the idea, but said that it would not change the president’s Iraq policy. And Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois said October was too late to begin bringing troops home. The flurry of exchanges among presidential candidates, according to interviews with lawmakers in both parties, is obscuring efforts to reach a substantive legislative compromise on Capitol Hill. “The presidential debate is a complicating factor,” said Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., who is working with Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, to build a consensus to change Iraq strategy. “The whole thing is so polarized. There is a canyon separating the bases of both parties.” Of the burst of Iraq pronouncements by presidential candidates, Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, chairman of the Republican conference, said: “It is poison in the middle of a war, when the issue is funding the troops.” In Congress, days after the president vetoed the Iraq spending bill, the Senate and the House were heading down different paths in producing new legislation to pay for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. WASHINGTON – The aggressive attempts by Democratic presidential hopefuls to shape the war debate are threatening to complicate congressional efforts to reach a deal on the Iraq spending bill, as the candidates’ calls for accelerating an end to the conflict compete with efforts by legislative leaders to extend funding for the war. The proposal by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to repeal President George W. Bush’s war authorization in October touched off a furious tussle on Friday among Democrats hoping to gain an upper hand with voters who oppose the war. It prompted other candidates to seek an even swifter end to the conflict, which is what some congressional leaders had been trying to avoid as war-spending negotiations with the White House intensify. John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator, said the plan was “a good statement to make,” but said Congress should use the power of the purse to end the war. He compared the proposal to the 1971 congressional action that repealed the resolution authorizing the Vietnam War, but noted: “The war went on for another three years.” Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico, said he proposed a similar measure three months ago. In an interview Friday, Richardson said the plan by Clinton of New York and Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., “only goes halfway,” because it would leave too many residual American forces in Iraq. As soon as next week, Democratic officials said, the House could consider a measure that would essentially provide $30 billion – or three months of funding for combat operations – and call for the president to report in midsummer on progress being made by the Iraqi government. Congress would then vote again on providing the remainder of the money sought by the administration. In the Senate, Democrats have opened negotiations with the administration in an effort to craft a measure that Bush would accept. The fact that the House and Senate are taking different approaches means another round of congressional negotiations must occur before a bill could be sent to the White House.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more