January 29, 2007


Senate Dems' anti-surge vote hits snag (ROBERT NOVAK, 1/29/07, Chgicago Sun-Times)

The Democratic plan was for Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden to sit down over the weekend with his longtime Republican colleague, Sen. John Warner, and hammer out a consensus bipartisan resolution opposing President Bush's troop surge in Iraq. But Warner, who has been making backroom deals for 28 years in the Senate, informed Biden late last Thursday: no deal.

Warner wrote that the "will of the Senate" should be determined in "open" session, not closeted negotiations. That killed the Democratic leadership's dream of passing a Biden-crafted anti-surge resolution by 70 votes or more. Such a proposal now cannot get the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster (and could fall short of the 50 senators needed for a simple majority). Conceivably, no resolution may be passed by the Senate.

Despite new Democratic control, the Senate remains sluggish, quirky and madly frustrating for anybody with an agenda. [...]

[B]iden was surprised Wednesday afternoon to receive a blunt letter from Warner and Ben Nelson of Nebraska, the most conservative Democrat in the Senate. They asserted that "issues set forth in [the resolution] should occur as a consequence of the will of the Senate, working in 'open' session." In other words, no private negotiations.

That stand poses a dilemma for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid because of bipartisan support for Warner's resolution. Besides Ben Nelson, co-sponsors include Democrats Mary Landrieu (La.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Bill Nelson (Fla.) and Ken Salazar (Colo.), and Republicans Norm Coleman (Minn.), Susan Collins (Maine) and Gordon Smith (Ore.). If they all stick together, Biden cannot change the Warner resolution.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 29, 2007 9:20 AM

So where is Sen. Keating-McCain in this? He fought hard to "preserve the filibuster" on judicial nominations, why isn't he fighting hard against this considering that in a few years President McCain would not want 100 prima donnas meddling in his responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief? Oh, that's right, he''s got his own version. Just another reason to support "anybody but Maverick." You'd think that showing he has the influence to publicly torpedo this would improve his standing with "the base" of the GOP.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 29, 2007 9:45 AM

Hatred has such easy power to cloud men's minds. It is, of course, only because Maverick preserved the filibuster that we can so easily thwart the Democrats now.

The "conservatives" would have denuded us with their short-sighted petulance.

Posted by: oj [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 29, 2007 10:04 AM

It's not hatred. It's digust. For a guy who wants so desperately to be "a leader", he always seems to run from the opportunity. Which is why a Keating-McCain administration (or any former Senator administration, for that matter) will be a disaster.

As for the filibuster, I'd bet that these dueling resolutions were introduced with the notion that their supporters would all be saved from their own folly because they know that they would never survive a cloture vote. If these clowns had to introduce resolutions that were in danger of passing, we'd not be treated to weeks of this sort of foolishness.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 29, 2007 10:52 AM

Of course, the Dems could vote to drop the filibuster this afternoon, if Reid wanted to take charge.

But Tim Johnson is in the hospital, and I suspect the hard left would vote no.

Posted by: ratbert at January 29, 2007 10:55 AM

The Gang of 14 preserved the filibuster for the judges, not for this type of thing.

Occam's Razor OJ - Rauol's explanation makes the most sense.

Posted by: AWW at January 29, 2007 10:58 AM

Of course all of this is political posturing. None of the senators know what the public is thinking, and, more importantly, what the public will be thinking when they are running for re-election. That is why they all want to have all positions covered. And that is why nothing will pass in the Senate.

Not just on the "surge" resolution, but on anything important for the next two years.

Posted by: sam at January 29, 2007 11:10 AM

Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, AWW, the laws all being flat?

Posted by: oj [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 29, 2007 1:39 PM