But the White House saw the Biden-Lugar-Hagel resolution, backed by two Republican foreign policy heavyweights, as a major threat. Lugar and Mr. Hagel were recruiting Republicans, and Mr. Biden was appealing to the pragmatism of antiwar Democrats. The Biden-Lugar-Hagel plan offered war skeptics in Congress a chance to do more than cast a protest vote. It was an opportunity to limit Mr. Bush’s war powers. Rep. Richard A. Gephardt’s (D-Mo.) deal with the White House surrendered legislative prerogatives and undercut the Biden-Lugar-Hagel plan.
Mr. Biden deserves credit for trying to drive the legislative outcome to a better conclusion rather than just focusing on personal political expediency.
Dan Diller, Falls Church
The writer was legislative director to Sen. Richard G. Lugar from 1993 to 2002 and Republican deputy staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2003 to 2013.