View Full Version : Time Limit On Iraq Troop Deployments Fails In Senate

07-12-2007, 12:25 PM
Time Limit on Iraq Troop Deployments Fails in Senate


(Gold9472: I've been ignoring all of the stories about Republicans "jumping ship" because the reason they are doing it is because of the next election. If they had guaranteed jobs, you can rest assured they would continue with the war-mongering.)

Published: July 11, 2007

WASHINGTON, July 11 — Seven Republicans joined Democrats today in supporting a proposal to give American troops more time between their military deployments, but the measure fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance, on the first vote of a two-week Congressional debate on Iraq.

Go to Complete Coverage » Senator Jim Webb, a Virginia Democrat, and Senator Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican, sponsored an amendment, which could effectively limit the number of troops deemed ready for deployment. The senators, both combat veterans, said the men and women in the military should be given the same amount of time at home that they serve overseas.

As the Senate considers a major military spending bill, lawmakers are offering a series of amendments intended to change the Bush administration’s Iraq policy. After more than a day of debate, Mr. Webb’s proposal effectively died when the Senate voted 56 to 41 to cut off debate, four votes short of the 60-vote threshold needed to move forward.

Senate Republicans threatened a filibuster and used procedural maneuvers to derail the bill. Democrats were unable to gain enough support for the proposal to break the deadlock and allow the measure to be decided.

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic majority leader, said the military had been stretched too thin as the war in Iraq extended into its fifth summer. “Our troops are not machines,” he said, “they are human beings.”

But Republican opponents argued that Congress had no business dictating how long troops would be deployed and suggested Democrats were simply trying to score political points from an unpopular war.

“The best thing that we can do for our troops is to win,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina. “We’re playing yo-yo — political yo-yo — with people’s lives.”

The measure was seen as a test vote, of sorts, for the outcome of other Democratic proposals seeking to force the Bush administration to change direction in Iraq. But the Republican support for the proposal was stronger than the administration had hoped, signaling the growing discontent with the current Iraq strategy.

Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the Armed Services Committee, formally presented his amendment today calling for a troop withdrawal to begin within 120 days of the legislation’s passage with a firm deadline of April 30, 2008. The plan has gained the support of two Republicans, Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon and Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, who both supported the Webb amendment today. A spokesman for Mr. Hagel, who was a sponsor of today’s amendment, said he also intended to support the plan.

Other Republicans who backed imposing a debate limit on the Webb amendment were Senators Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Susan Collins of Maine, John E. Sununu of New Hampshire and John R. Warner of Virginia. No Democrats voted against it.

Only a few hours before the vote, about a dozen Republican senators met behind closed doors in the Mansfield Room of the Capitol with Stephen J. Hadley, the president’s national security adviser. As the administration prepares to send an Iraq progress report to Congress this week, the White House is continuing to urge Republicans to wait until a more comprehensive report is released in September.

In interviews after the meeting, lawmakers and aides described the session as a candid one, with several Republicans saying they could not wait two months.

“We have different points of view,” Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, said. “I think the president, the country and our troops would be better off if we dealt with it today.”

Throughout the day, lawmakers came to the Senate floor to deliver speeches about the Iraq war. Senator Bob Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania, delivered neither support nor criticism for the president’s policy. His votes, he said, will be to change course in Iraq.

Instead, he read a roll-call of the 169 troops from Pennsylvania who had died in the conflict. The chamber was silent as he slowly ticked through their names and hometowns, a list that spanned the alphabet from Aliquippa to Youngsville.