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Constitutional Showdown On Iraq Occupation

Guest American for Progress

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Guest American for Progress

On Nov. 26, President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issued a "Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship." The contentious issue has been the subject of five congressional hearings; the administration is attempting to pass the agreement in the wake of an expiring U.N. mandate without Congressional approval. During a hearing this week, the State Department Coordinator for Iraq, Adm. David Satterfield, refused to say whether it was "a constitutional requirement" for the administration to "consult with Congress...in the commitment of U.S. forces in a battle zone." As conservative columnist George Will noted, "Hundreds of such agreements, major (e.g., NATO) and minor (the Reagan administration's security commitment to the Marshall Islands and Micronesia), have been submitted to Congress." Frustrated with the administration's power grab, Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA) said that the Bush administration's rhetoric "creates the basis for a constitutional confrontation." Legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate to bar the White House from making any such long-term deals with Iraq without congressional approval.

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