Senate leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called for an all-night session of the Senate to pressure Rethuglicans to back an amendment proposed by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Carl Levin (D-MI). The amendment would begin troop withdrawal from Iraq within 120 days of the bill’s enactment. The Rethugs were threatening a filibuster, which would require that the amendment pass with 60 votes instead of a simple majority. Senator Reid explained:
This week we’ll make Republicans answer for their refusal to allow an up or down vote on the most important issue facing our country today. We’re going to work today. We’re going to work tomorrow and work tomorrow night. We’re going to continue working on this until we get a vote on this amendment.
July 18 (Bloomberg) Cots were rolled into a room near the Senate chamber and food was prepared as senators took part in a night of debate that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pledged would last past dawn.
Top row: Harry Reid, Carl Levin, Jack Reed, Charles Schumer
Bottom row: Mitch McConnell, David Vitter, John Warner
Original DVD cover.
Of course, the Rethugs got all stinky about it all. Their leader, Mitch “I-can’t-change-my-own-pillowcases-because-I-have-no-chin” McConnell (R-KY) was his nasty, whiny self:
From Evening Echo:
“Our enemies aren’t threatened by talk-a-thons, and our troops deserve better than publicity stunts,” said Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, last night.
McConnell and many other Republicans favour waiting until September before considering any changes to President George Bush’s current policy.
They have vowed to block a final vote on the Democrats’ attempt to require a troop withdrawal to begin within 120 days.
Of course, there are some Rethugs who realize that the war in Iraq is wrong and that Chimpy keeps making it worse. So, of course, they will stand up and be heard, right? Not so fast…..
From Harold Meyers of The Washington Post:
Anyone searching for the highest forms of invertebrate life need look no further than the floor of the U.S. Senate last week and this. These spineless specimens go by various names — Republican moderates; respected senior Republicans; Dick Lugar, John Warner, Pete Domenici, George Voinovich.
They have seen the folly of our course in Iraq. The mission, they understand, cannot be accomplished. The Iraqi government, they discern, is hopelessly sectarian.
In wisdom, they are paragons. In action, they are nullities.
Problem is, the Warners and the Lugars don’t actually want to act on their perception. They oppose the legislation by Democrats Carl Levin and Jack Reed that would require the administration to begin reducing our forces in Iraq within 120 days and to remove all but that anti-jihadist force by next April.
Instead, they have drafted legislation that would require the administration to draw up plans for a pullback — but not to implement them.
When the Senate votes, probably today, on ending the Republican filibuster against the Levin-Reed legislation, three Republicans — Chuck Hagel, Gordon Smith and Olympia Snowe– have pledged to side with those who would compel the administration to begin withdrawals. But for all the sound and fury coming from the senior Republicans ostensibly in revolt, none of them is poised to join the three. None is willing to challenge the White House on the conduct of the war in the only way that counts — by mandating a shift in policy.
Senator David Vitter (R-LA) showed up for the sleepover.
In other news, Senator Vitter announced in a press conference with his wife that all that stuff about the hookers in New Orleans wasn’t true. There were some stories about diapers and such, but, as regular readers here know, I never mention stuff like that.