The first months of World War II, when war was clearly under way but there was more military positioning than fighting, was known as the “phony war.” Something similar is happening in Congress with regard to
The huge catchall spending bill that the House approved, and that the Senate seems poised to approve, contains three
Senator Bob Menendez of
The three provisions are relatively small potatoes. One provides that Americans who wish to sell agricultural products to
A second provision says that no funds may be spent to implement or enforce President Bush’s 2004 regulations that reduced opportunities for Cuban Americans to visit relatives. A third says that no funds may be spent to implement or enforce 2005 regulations governing the terms of agricultural sales to
Senator Menendez took the floor Monday to oppose the provisions and to complain about the process. Senate Majority Leader Reid joined him and expressed solidarity. Later, Reid told reporters he doesn’t like the
All in all, it seems like a show of force, an effort to signal the kind of opposition that would be mustered if more substantial policy change is considered later this year.
Surely, a real debate will be joined later this year about changing
So this has been the phony war, the real debate is to come. If this week’s legislation shows one thing, it is perhaps that in the absence of the old Bush veto threats directed at any bill that liberalizes
New York Times coverage here.
[Update: to the contrary, this Orlando Sentinel report says the bill does not face smooth sailing.]