Senate Republicans Vote To Remain In Iraq Indefinitely
By a vote of 52-47, with 60 'yea' votes required, Republicans filibustered the Levin-Reed amendment to the Defense Authorization bill, thus keeping it from going to an up-or-down vote and effectively killing the measure.
Levin-Reed would have required the Bush administration to begin withdrawing combat troops from Iraq within 120 days of its passage and mandated an overall redeployment of the U.S. military from Iraq by April of 2008.
In moving forward with their Filibuster Festival '07, Republicans objected to formal motions for a vote on Levin-Reed at least five times in just the first few hours of the all-night Senate debate called by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to force Republicans to publicly defend their pro-war stance.
“I want everyone here tonight – every American from coast to coast – to know that we won’t stop fighting until we end this war. That is what this night is all about," said Reid last night to a crowd assembled at the Capitol as the Senate debate continued. “But we all know this debate won’t end tonight. It won’t end because for all the encouraging words we’ve heard from some Republicans these past few weeks, too few of them are willing to vote the right way too. It won’t end because the majority of Republicans continue to ignore the will of the majority of Americans – and continue to protect the President instead of our troops."
And, after blocking the bill by Jim Webb (D-VA) to force Bush to rest troops longer at home before sending them back into battle in Iraq, Republicans press on in yet another display of true anti-troop sentiment while blindly insisting that things are getting better in Iraq and that America's global reputation is intact.
"Does anyone believe truly that this war has gained us respect in the council of world nations?" asked Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on the Senate floor late last night. "Does anyone believe that? Because if they do, they’re smoking something. Because it hasn’t. There has never been a time when America has less credibility abroad than today."
Mary Landrieu (D-LA) had especially harsh words for Republicans who continued last night in calling a debate on the most important issue facing our county "a stunt" and "theatrics."
"This is not a stunt. This is a very strong and clear and unwavering statement tonight that the president and the Republican leadership are leading this country in the wrong direction and now is the time to change it," said a clearly angry Landrieu. "I haven't been to Hollywood too many times, but I've been there enough to know that there's a lot of glitter, fountains, big lights -- I don't see any fountains or glitter on the floor of the United States Senate. I see hard-working Senators who are here to debate the most important issue and for our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to question our intentions I think is beneath the dignity of this body."
"This is not a stunt. This is an exercise in reality. And this is not Hollywood, this is the United States Senate and this is exactly what people in the United States Senate do -- debate. And what we also like to do is vote. But we're not allowed to vote because the minority leader has decided that we're not going to have a vote."
The only Republicans voting to proceed to a vote on Levin-Reed were Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Gordon Smith (R-OR) and, in a bit of a surprise, Susan Collins (R-ME).
The others, along with former Democrat Joe Lieberman, voted to let American troops keep dying for nothing in Iraq.
Update: Many of you will look at the roll call vote on this and ask the very reasonable question of why Harry Reid actually voted against cloture on the Levin-Reed measure today. It's because of Rule 13 of the Standing Rules of the Senate which says that, by voting with the "prevailing side," Reid maintains the procedural ability to have the measure reconsidered over the next two legislative days. This is a very common thing for a party leader to do on a losing vote.