by user John Good
“A majority of the United States Senate just voted on Iraq, and a majority of the United States Senate is against the escalation in Iraq.” - Harry Reid
Today, for the second time, Republican Senators blocked efforts to force debate on the resolution opposing President Bush’s troop buildup in Iraq, but defections among them have emboldened Democrats to promise new attempts to derail BushCo's war machine. The 56-to-34 vote, just four votes short of the 60 needed to break a procedural stalemate, suggests that Democrats are slowly pulling Senate Republicans over to their side. Seven Republicans and one Independent joined 48 Democrats in voting "aye" today.
Democratic leaders intend to quickly introduce meatier proposals on Iraq after next week's break:
“We will be relentless, there will be resolution after resolution, amendment after amendment, all forcing this body to do what it has not done in the previous three years: debate and discuss Iraq.” - Senator Charles Schumer (NY)
“The American people can see what is happening here,and they know that some want to prevent a vote at all costs.” - Senator Ben Nelson (NE)
Details of the Democratic game plan remain under wraps, but will likely focus upon the mission of our troops in Iraq and ways to authorize funding for those troops now deployed while disallowing any additional spending for escalations.
Some Republican responses ( and my thoughts on them) to today's actions:
“We want a debate about Iraq that includes funding for the troops. They’ve denounced the surge. The question is, are they going to fund the troops?” - Senator Mitch McConnell (KY)
- Yes, Mitch. WE support our troops and WE will fund our troops in the field and their redeployment. WE, however, will NOT fund "surges" at this president's whim.
“This week’s voting gave the world a glimpse of democracy’s vigor. The next votes should provide unmistakable assurance of this nation’s resolve in achieving success.” - Lapdog Tony Snow (DC)
- That it will, Tony. We've picked up five Republican votes since we last discussed this; I say we're on a roll here. “This is the United States Senate. The majority cannot tell the minority what we are going to have one vote on, take it or leave it.” - Senator Jim Bunning (KY)
- You mean like the way things ran the last six years there, Jimbo?
“If you think we are in the middle of civil war, cut off funding.” - Senator Lindsey Graham (SC)
- Lindsey, the only voices I hear talking about cutting off funding for our current forces seem to be coming from your side of the aisle. What gives? All this posturing for a vote that would merely open debate to begin considering the measure passed yesterday by the House. A simple message that “Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on Jan. 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.” Republicans are clearly ducking a vote directly opposing Bush's misguided attempts to escalate our forces even as many of them display significant reservations about the conduct of the war and it's political repercussions for them.