- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 1, 2002

The top four leaders of the House and Senate will meet President Bush tomorrow to work out the final details of a resolution authorizing the use of military force against Iraq.

A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, reported no progress yesterday in staff-level discussions between the White House and Congress. She said the Senate, therefore, is not likely to take up the resolution until tomorrow at the earliest.

A Senate vote is not expected until next week; many lawmakers want to leave the Capitol to attend the funeral on Friday in Hawaii of Democratic Rep. Patsy T. Mink, who died last weekend at age 74.

The House plans to vote on a resolution next week. Some Democrats want to revise the proposal to allow the president to use military force only if all diplomatic options are exhausted.

The administration wants Congress to approve the use of force before lawmakers adjourn on Oct. 11, saying Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein continues to develop weapons of mass destruction in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office yesterday estimated that fighting a war with Iraq could cost the United States $6 billion to $9 billion a month. The CBO said preparing for a conflict and winding down after it would add $14 billion to $20 billion to the total.

Top White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey recently estimated the cost of such a war at $100 billion to $200 billion. House Democrats predicted last week that it would cost $31 billion to $60 billion to wage a war lasting one or two months.

Regardless of the resolution's exact wording, Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican and a supporter of the White House initiative, said he expects at least 78 senators to vote for it.

Twenty Senate Democrats still in office opposed a resolution in 1991 authorizing force against Iraq in the Persian Gulf war: Mr. Daschle, Daniel K. Akaka and Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, Max Baucus of Montana, Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Ernest F. Hollings of South Carolina, Edward M. Kennedy and John Kerry of Massachusetts, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, Carl Levin of Michigan, Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes of Maryland, Robert C. Byrd and John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia and Paul Wellstone of Minnesota.

Of those Democrats, Mr. Baucus has said he expects to vote for a resolution this time. Mr. Biden and Mr. Harkin have said they are open to such a proposal.

Sen. Tim Johnson, South Dakota Democrat, voted against the 1991 resolution while a member of the House. Other senators believed to be opposed to a use-of-force resolution are Sens. Russell D. Feingold, Wisconsin Democrat; Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat; and Lincoln Chafee, Rhode Island Republican.

In the House, a faction of about 20 Democrats led by Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio have pledged to vote against military action in Iraq. Three House Democrats Jim McDermott of Washington, David E. Bonior of Michigan and Mike Thompson of California visited Baghdad last weekend and denounced Mr. Bush's plans.

Mr. McCain said on CNN yesterday that the three Democrats were "helping the Iraqi government sell to the Iraqi people their hatred of the United States."

He said the Democrats' behavior was "worse in one respect" than actress Jane Fonda's visit to North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

"She was a young, troubled actress," Mr. McCain said. "Let's face what she was. These [Democrats] are members of Congress. These are supposed to be grown, mature individuals. I do not understand it."

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