Wednesday, July 18, 2007

After GOP Iraq-Withdrawal Filibuster, Reid Sets Aside Defense Authorization Bill

In an in-your-face response to Republicans continuing to block a full Senate vote on withdrawing American troops from Iraq, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) just moments ago set aside the pending Defense Authorization Bill until the Senate's Republican leadership stops defying the will of the majority of Congress and the American people and allows votes on the Iraq occupation.

"This has been a long week and it is only Wednesday," said Reid on the Senate floor. "We have now been in session continuously for 2 days. On Monday I submitted a simple request for consent to proceed to an up or down vote on the Levin/Reed Amendment to the Defense Authorization bill. As I have stated, this amendment provides a clear, binding and responsible path to change the U.S. mission and reduce our combat presence in Iraq."

"Regrettably, Republicans chose to block this amendment. They chose to deny the American people an up or down vote on a bipartisan amendment. They chose to continue protecting their President instead of our troops – no matter the cost to our country."

Reid then laid out his next step: "Because Republicans continue to block votes on important amendments to the Defense Authorization bill, we can make no further progress on Iraq and this bill at this time."

"For these reasons, I have temporarily laid aside the Defense Authorization bill and have entered a motion to reconsider.

"But let me be clear to my Republican colleagues – I emphasize the word “temporarily”. We will do everything in our power to change course in Iraq. We will do everything in our power to complete consideration of a Defense Authorization bill. We must do both.

"And just to remind my Republican colleagues – even if this bill had passed yesterday, its provisions would not take effect until October.

"So we will come back to this bill as soon as it is clear we can make real progress. To that end, I have asked the Democratic Whip and Democratic Manager of the bill to sit down with their counterparts to work on a process to address all outstanding issues related to this bill so the Senate can return to it as soon as possible.

"In the meantime, we will continue to work with our Republican colleagues who are saying the right things on Iraq but aren’t yet committed to voting the right way."
Note how Reid "reminded" the Republicans that nothing in the DoD bill he just set aside takes effect until October anyway as a preemptive strike against their predictable cries of Democrats depriving the troops and not supporting them.

"We have spent 2 days showing America that we will not back down," said Reid. "That we will keep fighting. That if President Bush and his allies in Congress refuse to budge, we will continue to show them the way."