Democratic lawmakers and staffers privately say they're closing in on a broad budget deal that would give President Bush as much as $70 billion in new war funding.
Congress is likely to pass an additional $70 billion in new war funds, Democrats tell CNN.
The deal would lack a key provision Democrats had attached to previous funding bills calling for most U.S. troops to come home from Iraq by the end of 2008, which would be a significant legislative victory for Bush.
Democrats admit such a move would be highly controversial within their own party. Coming just weeks after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, vowed the White House would not get another dollar in war money this year, it would further antagonize the liberal base of the party, which has become frustrated with the congressional leadership's failure to push back on Bush's Iraq policy.
"The base will not be happy," said one senior Democratic aide, who requested anonymity to candidly discuss budget negotiations that have not been completed.
The Democratic aide acknowledged the president is likely to get new money for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan before Congress adjourns for the year. "Yes, in the end, that's where we will be," the aide said.
A senior Republican aide also said both sides are nearing a deal that would give Bush a large chunk of the $200 billion in war funding he requested earlier this year. "We're not there yet, but we're close," the Republican aide said.
Privately, Democrats say they have little choice but to give the president at least some war funding because Senate Republicans have vowed to block any final budget deal unless it has at least some of the war funding Bush has requested.
- BUSH WINS.
- HOW LUCKY IS BUSH TO HAVE FACED THE LIKES OF KERRY AND PELOSI AND REID AND MURTHA AND DURBIN AND KENNEDY!
- I MEAN, THESE DEMS ARE SO DUMB, THEY VOTE FOR RAMADAN AND AGAINST CHRISTMAS!
- AND, THE DEMOCRAT NOMINEE IS GONNA BE A WHOLE LOT MORE LIKE THAT DEFEATIST CREW THAN LIEBERMAN.
WHICH MEANS THE GOP SHOULD RETAIN THE WHITE HOUSE IN 2008.