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"Since the President is adamant about pursuing his failed policies in Iraq, Congress has the duty to stand up and use its power to stop him. If Congress doesn't stop this war, it's not because it doesn't have the power. It's because it doesn't have the will," said Senator Russ Feingold.
In language reminiscent of Fighting Bob La Follette, Feingold on January 30 implored his colleagues to do their constitutional duty. Chairing a Senate Judiciary hearing on Congress's powers in wartime, Feingold in his opening remarks spared no one.
"In the United States of America, the people are sovereign, not the President. It is Congress' responsibility to challenge an Administration that persists in a war that is misguided and that the country opposes. We cannot simply wring our hands and complain about the Administration's policy. We cannot just pass resolutions saying 'your policy is mistaken.' And we can't sit idly by and tell ourselves that it's the President's job to fix the mess he made. It's our job to fix the mess, and if we don't do so we are abdicating our responsibilities."
Only two other Democrats joined Feingold at the hearing, Dick Durbin of Illinois and Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. Republican Alren Specter of Pennsylvania, the former chair of the Judiciary Committee, was also in attendance. According to The New York Times, Specter said a clash over Constitutional powers appears to be "imminent." Specter also said at the hearing, "I would respectfully suggest to the President that he is not the sole decider.... The decider is a joint and shared responsibility."
Feingold said he will introduce legislation today that would "prohibit the use of funds to continue the deployment of U.S. forces in Iraq six months after enactment."
But will other Democrats, especially those with desires to be Commander in Chief, act to stop the war?
"Those (Democrats) who are timid on this, who are they listening to?" Feingold told The Politico on January 26. "The people don't want is to talk just about ending the escalation. They think this whole war is wrong."