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Democrats Plan Senate Floor Debate On Iraq Early Next Week January 26, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Congress, Politics, US News.
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WASHINGTON (AP)–Democrats intend to begin debate in the Senate next week on a nonbinding measure declaring President George W. Bush’s planned troop increase in Iraq is “not in the national interest,” Majority Leader Harry Reid said Friday.

He said a quick test vote would be likely if Republicans try to delay or block the move.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the measure Wednesday on a near party-line vote of 12-9, acting one day after Bush implored lawmakers in his State of the Union address to give his revised war strategy a chance to work.

Several Republicans have lined up behind an alternative proposal that is also critical of Bush’s plans to deploy an additional 21,500 troops, but in softer terms.

Some Democrats have called for an effort to merge the two proposals, hoping for a large, bipartisan vote putting the Senate on record as critical of the administration’s plans. But key Republicans have said they aren’t interested in compromise talks.

In remarks on the Senate floor, Reid, D-Nev., said Democrats were “moving forward to demand a new direction in Iraq… We hope the Republican leadership will join with us to thoroughly debate this issue… our troops and the American people deserve no less.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said GOP lawmakers may submit one or more alternatives to the Democratic-backed legislation. He said that next week he hoped to be able to “sit down and structure the process by which those will be considered in the Senate.”

Under Senate rules, a minority can try to prevent legislation from coming to the floor. McConnell didn’t say he would do so, but Reid said if he did, the Senate would vote on whether to go ahead anyway. Democrats would need 60 votes to prevail, but are unlikely to do so, given that Republicans control 49 seats in the 100-member Senate.

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