From Today's The Hill
It can be lonely as a centrist in the highly partisan House of Representatives. But as the Iraq debate has become increasingly polarized, House leaders have turned their undivided attention to their party’s black sheep — who could hold the balance of power over congressional action on the war.
On Monday night, a week after Gen. David Petraeus’s report, Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Deputy Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) held a listening session with a group of centrist GOP lawmakers who have expressed concern over the continued political deterioration in Iraq. Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.), who attended the meeting, described “quite a bit of movement in the middle.” He added: “Every vote we take on the war is extremely polarizing.”
In an attempt to quell some of the continued partisan rancor, Castle and Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.) have been collecting signatures of like-minded lawmakers on a bipartisan agreement based on the Iraq Study Group’s recommendations. Castle declined to give specifics, saying that the deal’s language and the group’s membership have not been finalized.
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has said he will meet with the bipartisan centrist bloc, although a meeting has not yet been scheduled.
“People want to win, but they are very frustrated and tired,” Capito said when asked what she had heard from her constituents. “The Petraeus report gave some people in the middle ground [insight] … and that’s a good thing.”