Senate Republicans Filibuster Troop Readiness Measure
by Jonathan Singer, Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 08:46:56 AM EDT
Well, the Republicans were at it again in top form today. Unsurprising news, I know. The Senate today took up an amendment sponsored by Jim Webb that would have improved military readiness and eased the burden on the American soldier by mandating that troops should have a period of rest equal to their time on active duty in combat. But rather than allowing an up-or-down vote on the amendment -- and it's usually the case that amendments get up-or-down votes, which in this case would have yielded a majority in favor of the amendment -- Senate Republicans instead opted to mount a filibuster, denying cloture on the measure.
The results of the vote have not yet been posted on the Senate's website, but the measure failed on a cloture vote of 56 to 41. I wasn't watching C-SPAN 2 during the vote so I wasn't making my own tally, but I'm hearing that Republican Senators like Pete Domenici, who were portrayed in the media as having broken with the President and the pro-war faction of the GOP on Iraq, voted in favor of a filibuster of this measure. It would come as little surprise if these Senators did not follow their words with actual action.
I'll do a breakdown of the vote when it's finally posted, but below the fold, Senator Webb's statement preceding the vote...
Update [2007-7-11 14:30:9 by Todd Beeton]: The only Republicans to vote for cloture were Norm Coleman, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, John Sununu, Chuck Hagel, Gordon Smith and John Warner (of whom all but Snowe are up for re-election next year.) As this handy chart reminds us, of the six up for re-election, five (Coleman, Collins, Hagel, Smith and Warner) had voted to end debate on the withdrawal timeline bill. So, on this measure alone, we've only gained one vote -- that of Sununu.
"Today the Republicans decided to filibuster an amendment that goes straight to the well-being of our troops. I deeply regret this move, which makes it necessary for the amendment to be passed with a minimum of 60 votes instead of 51.
"I would remind my colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle that the American people are watching us closely today. They expect us to finally take the sort of positive action that might stabilize the operational environment in which our troops are being sent again and again.
"Americans are tired of the posturing that is giving Congress such a bad reputation. They are tired of the procedural strategies designed to protect politicians from accountability, and to protect this Administration from judgment. They are looking for concrete actions that will protect the well-being of our men and women in uniform.
"The question on this amendment is not whether you support this war or whether you do not. It is not whether you want to wait until July or September to see where one particular set of benchmarks or summaries might be taking us. The question is this: more than four years into ground operations in Iraq, we owe stability, and a reasonable cycle of deployment, to the men and women who are carrying our nation's burden. That is the question. And that is the purpose of this amendment."