View Full Version : Key Democrat Says Likely Can't Block Bolton

06-05-2005, 12:56 PM
Key Democrat says likely can't block Bolton


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democrat said on Sunday his party likely will not have enough votes to block John Bolton's nomination as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

The Senate returns this week from recess and again will take up the contested nomination, which has twice been delayed by Democratic concerns about Bolton, currently the top U.S. diplomat for arms control they say has a record of abusive, erratic behavior that should disqualify him for the sensitive diplomatic job.

Asked if Democrats would have enough votes to sustain a filibuster, a procedural hurdle used to block action and thereby block the confirmation vote, Sen. Joseph Biden (news, bio, voting record) of Delaware said, "I'm going to be completely straight with you. I'm not at all certain we do."

Sixty votes are needed to end debate and go to a final vote in the full Senate, which Republicans control 55-45.

"(Bush) will probably be able to win the vote somewhere between 45 and 47 votes against and he'll think it's a victory," Biden told ABC's "This Week" program.

"He is making a mistake, a serious mistake, not only institutionally, but for his own naked self interest," he added.

The Senate put off Bolton's vote after Democrats demanded the White House turn over information to shed light on if Bolton tried to tamper with intelligence assessments.

Democrats, joined by Ohio Republican Sen. George Voinovich (news, bio, voting record), say Bolton is a hard-line conservative and a bully who tried to pressure intelligence officials into making their findings support his political views.

Biden said the White House had not handed over the information, a tactic Republicans accuse Democrats of using to stall the vote.

"The bottom line here is that the president can probably stiff us. The president can probably refuse to give us this information, which we're completely entitled to as United States Senate," Biden said.