Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Week of Feb 6 - Ongoing Surge Resolution Debate

    The week of January 29 was pretty much a Senate wasteland. Regular, and careful readers will notice that my previous entry was on January 28, when the Senate was poised to take a cloture vote on a Motion to Proceed to Consideration of S.Con.Res.2 - an Iraq surge resolution. The Senate got around to that vote on Thursday, February 1st, and cloture was rejected on a 0 - 97 vote!

    Not satisfied with that, the Senate has continued to beat the Iraq drum, moving on to another version of a non-binding anti-commander-in-chief resolution, S.470, offered by Levin, Biden, Landrieu, Nelson and Salazar. That measure is also hung up on a failed cloture vote on a Motion to Proceed to Consideration, on a 49 - 47 margin, party line except for Coleman, Collins and Lieberman (Reid voted NAY in order to be able to enter a motion to reconsider).

    The Democrats hue and cry is that failure to obtain cloture on a motion to proceed is somehow odd. Say what? They are counting on your short memory and ignorance of history. Here is a repeat of my January 28 example list of failure to proceed, where the failure to proceed was accompanied by a rejection of cloture ...

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Text of many of the February 5 speeches, including Lieberman's.

This resolution is not about Congress taking responsibility. It is the opposite. This is a resolution of irresolution.

    Well worth a read in its entirety. I mean it, click on the link and read Lieberman's speech.

    As for the "debate" -- or as the Democrats say, "failure to have a debate," goes -- I figure that failure to vote on a non-binding resolution is inconsequential.

    The resolution itself is illogical ...

It is the sense of Congress that ... (1) the Senate disagrees with the 'plan' to augment our forces by 21,500, and urges the President instead to consider all options and alternatives for achieving the strategic goals set forth below;

"Consider all options." Indeed.

    Personally, I think the surge amounts to an expensive charade. The bad guys know how to play this game, and will see to it that the surge will be viewed, in the short term, as an American success.

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    President Bush is playing the same "off the budget" game that created substantial criticism by a number of Senators in the 109th Congress. The game comprises the passing of Emergency Supplemental Resolutions to support activities that are not in the nature of unplanned or unknown. I'll try to remember to watch for repeats (or absence of repeats) of the criticism.

UPDATE @ 16:15

    The Gregg amendment that is a subject of the current debate wasn't filed before today. Whatever it is (the Gregg amendment), the Democrats don't want to formally consider it.

    Gregg asks Reid if Reid would support the Gregg Amendment if it was offered as a stand alone? Reid does not provide a responsive answer. He says the question is whether or not the Senate supports the surge. Gregg says that the question is whether or not the Congress will provide material to facilitate the troops to defend themselves.

    Other amendments in play ... McCain/Lieberman, Warner (also unavailable).

UPDATE @ 16:25

    Reid and Durbin noting that the Senate was given a choice between two Republican amendments, McCain (for the surge) and Warner (opposing the surge), and yet the Republicans refused to choose between their own two amendments.

    Senator Gregg is noted as throwing a monkey-wrench into these, as well as into minimum wage. Reid personalizes the opposition . . . . LOL. McCain comes up to rebut Reid. Maybe some fireworks if McCain comes off his handle. McCain's general point being is that it's not possible to support the troops without supporting the mission.

UPDATE @ February 7

The collection of Iraq-surge resolutions ...

  • Biden's S.Con.Res.2
  • McCain's S.Res.70 (aka Lieberman/McCain: benchmarks)
  • Levin's S.470
  • Warner's S.Con.Res.7
  • The Gregg Amendment (must be filed under a different name - the text of this "amendment" or "resolution" is not yet in the Congressional Record, and it isn't clear where it fits or applies)

    Senator Reid is going to "move on" to the continuing resolution, to fund the government, and drop efforts to express the sense of the Senate on military action in Iraq.

UPDATE @ 12:10

    Senator Specter is making a disingenuous argument regarding the filing of a cloture motion on a Motion to Proceed to Consideration. The reason Reid filed that cloture motion was because a Republican objected to Proceed to Consideration.

    Senator Specter is describing a situation that can come up only AFTER the matter has been taken up, only AFTER the Senate has agreed to Motion to Proceed to Consideration.

    Still, Specter's description of "filling the amendment tree" is informative, but Frist did this quite a few times in the 2nd Session of the 109th Senate. In other words, it isn't all that unusual.

UPDATE @ February 8

    Ordered, That on Thursday, February 8, 2007, following the vote on Executive Calendar No. 15 [Casey] , the Senate proceed to the consideration of H.J. Res. 20, an Act making further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2007, and for other purposes.

    The confirmation vote on General Casey to be Chief of Staff, United States Army, will start at about 11:30, following half an hour of debate that is agreed to begin at 11:00.

    The Iraq-surge issue isn't going away just because the resolutions won't be taken up as stand-alone legislation. Senator Warner and others intend to offer their version as an amendment to every bill that is brought forward, beginning with the continuing resolution that will be taken up this afternoon. I predict Senator Reid will "fill the tree," or failing that, will obtain agreement that no surge-resolution amendment will be offered in the continuing resolution. He doesn't have much choice, when you look at the politics of the debate.

UPDATE @ 12:13

General Casey was CONFIRMED on a 83 - 14 vote.

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