View Full Version : Democrats Block Vote To Censure Bush

03-14-2006, 02:10 PM
Democrats Beat Quick Retreat on Call to Censure President


(Gold9472: The so-called "Opposition Party".)


WASHINGTON, March 13 — Senate Democrats on Monday blocked an immediate vote on a call by one of their own to censure President Bush for his eavesdropping program.

They acted after Republicans said they were eager to pass judgment on a proposal that they portrayed as baseless and disruptive to the antiterror effort.

Minutes before Senator Russell D. Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, formally introduced his resolution reprimanding Mr. Bush, Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the majority leader, said Republicans were ready to vote by day's end or Tuesday.

"When we're talking about censure of the president of the United States at a time of war, when this president is out defending the American people with a very good, lawful, constitutional program, it is serious business," Mr. Frist said. "If they want to make an issue out of it, we're willing to do just that."

Democrats, while distancing themselves from Mr. Feingold's assertion that the president "plainly broke the law" in approving surveillance without warrants, said his proposal merited more consideration than a hasty vote.

"To try to limit debate on this most important matter that Senator Feingold is going to put before the Senate is not appropriate," said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the minority leader.

Democrats' hesitancy was a sign they remained reluctant to challenge Mr. Bush on some national security questions even as he was struggling in public opinion polls and set back on the transfer of some American port operations to an Arab company. Though polls on surveillance are mixed, Republicans say the public generally backs the idea of eavesdropping on people suspected of being in contact with terror suspects.

"The American people already made their decision," Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday in an appearance in Mr. Feingold's home state, The Associated Press reported. "They agree with the president."

Mr. Feingold said he viewed his censure resolution as a reasonable way to hold the president accountable. He said it fell short of the push for impeachment that some critics contend is warranted by Mr. Bush's approval of the surveillance program and his strong defense of it.

"This is certainly more serious than anything President Clinton was accused of doing," said Mr. Feingold, who added that the grass-roots response to his proposal was strong after he announced his intention on Sunday. "It is reminiscent of what President Nixon was not only accused of doing, but was basically removed from office for doing."

Other Republicans joined Mr. Frist in accusing Mr. Feingold of trying to build support for a possible presidential bid in 2008.

Senator Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who has expressed reservations about the surveillance, said Mr. Feingold had failed to make a case for censure over what amounts to a dispute over the legal basis of the program.

"The president may be wrong," Mr. Specter said, "but he has acted in good faith."

03-14-2006, 03:04 PM
Problably afraid of being "Paul Wellstoned".