- The Washington Times - Monday, July 23, 2007

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell both rejected a call for censure of President Bush that is expected be introduced by a fellow lawmaker in the coming days.

A pair of resolutions sponsored by liberal Sen. Russ Feingold, Wisconsin Democrat, would be a nonbinding expression of disapproval over Mr. Bush’s execution of the war and terrorist-surveillance operations.

Mr. Feingold will argue in the resolutions that the administration used misleading intelligence to justify the Iraq war, overstretched the U.S. military and violated the Constitution through the warrantless wiretapping program the administration says it used for terrorist surveillance.

Congress needs to formally condemn the president and members of the administration for misconduct before and during the Iraq war and for undermining the rule of law at home,” Mr. Feingold said yesterday.

“This is an opportunity for people to say, ‘Let’s at least reflect on the record that something terrible has happened here,’ ” he added yesterday during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “This administration has weakened America in a way that is frightful.”

Mr. Feingold said the resolution might also name Vice President Dick Cheney and other administration officials.

The language focusing on domestic surveillance would also seek a rebuke of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.

Only three other Democratic senators supported a similar resolution put forward by Mr. Feingold last year. However, he noted recent polls showing a near-plurality of respondents to a recent poll favoring impeachment of Mr. Bush and a majority favoring impeachment for Mr. Cheney.

A poll of 1,100 adults earlier this month by the American Research Group found 45 percent of respondents in favor of beginning impeachment proceedings against Mr. Bush. Forty-six percent said they are opposed to impeachment, which carries legal ramifications that Mr. Feingold’s resolution would not.

Fifty-four percent of respondents in the same poll said they favored bringing impeachment hearings against Mr. Cheney, with 40 percent opposed.

A handful of House Democratic lawmakers have signed on for an impeachment bill against Mr. Cheney sponsored by presidential candidate Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio.

At first, Mr. Reid appeared to avoid answering whether he would support Mr. Feingold’s resolutions, suggesting that they are unlikely to reach the floor for a vote.

“I’m sure Russ Feingold will try to find a way to offer that amendment. The Republicans won’t let us vote on it. They’ll block it,” Mr. Reid told CBS’ “Face the Nation” moderator Bob Schieffer.

However, when pressed on whether he would support the resolution, Mr. Reid said he would not. “Frankly, we have so many other things to do.”

Meanwhile, Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, told CNN’s “Late Edition” that he was “stunned” Mr. Feingold planned to offer the resolution and said it “gives you a sense of why this Congress now has a 14 percent approval rating.”



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