Iraq Supplemental: Senate Votes Down Attempt To Strip Nonbinding Timeline. Now What?

The Senate voted down the Cochran Amendment, intended to strip the Senate version of the Iraq supplemental funding bill. Every Republican excepting Hagel and Smith voted for the Cochran Amendment. Two Democratic Caucus members, Lieberman and Pryor, voted for the Cochran Amendment and against the non-binding withdrawal timeline.

The next action is a conference, as the House and Senate bills are in conflict, at least ostensibly. The House bill claims to set a firm deadline for withdrawal, August 31, 2008. The Senate bill sets a nonbinding goal of March 31, 2008. What emerges from the conference. A broken tooth or none at all?

And then what?

If this is a win today, what does that mean exactly? A good headline today and tomorrow. But what about in December 2007 when the Iraq Debacle rages? March 31, 2008 when the Iraq Debacle rages with 171,000 US troops involved? What does it mean in August 31, 2008, when, two months before the election, the Democratic Congress votes "emergency" funding "for the troops"?

I fear no one has thought this through. And let me be clear, unlike Matt Stoller, I have no criticism of Harry Reid for this. I am a pragmatist on what the Democratic Senate leadership can do with a 51-49 Senate that includes a Lieberman, a Ben Nelson, a Pryor from Arkansas, and so on.

In a seeming bout of inconsistency, after giving the House Dem Leadership a free pass, now Matt Stoller wants to hold Harry Reid's feet to the fire.

Hmmm. Is it not true that Pelosi "d[id] not necessarily have to do this, as [s]he controlled the floor[?]" What happened to the "best we can do?" What happened to "not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good? Think what Matt is saying, Reid, with a bare 51-49 majority that includes Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson and Pryor of Arkansas, is supposed to hold the line but Pelosi, with a bigger majority than that which the Republicans had when they controlled the House, gets a free pass.

This is NOT very "pragmatic." It is for PELOSI to exercise that leadership role Matt. It WAS before and it will be now again. The problem? She didn't lead on the Iraq supplement. And now she can't lead. There is no going back. This battle was lost when the House passed its disastrous Iraq supplemental funding bill that had at best, one tooth. A tooth now pulled. In conference, the Housew and Senate may reinsert the nonbinding withdrawal provision. Bush will sign it, with a signing statement. The Democratic Congress will have funded the Iraq Debacle.

< The "Pragmatic" Iraq Supplemental Plan: GOP Senators Will "Win" It for Dems | Suit Against Rumsfeld Dismissed >
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  • Display: Sort:
    I'm 90% sure I heard (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 04:47:08 PM EST
    "Mr. Smith: NO" and "Mr. Pryor: AYE"

    Also, (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by andgarden on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 04:49:10 PM EST
    Stoller does seem completely off base on Reid. As I said last week, Reid seems a better strategist then Pelosi.

    I found it funny that (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 04:57:01 PM EST
    Mr. Pragmatist expects the hard line to come from the Senate rather than the House.

    That seems a remarkable formulation to me.

    In every scenario, the spine must come from the House.


    The House does seem harder to manage (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by andgarden on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:03:51 PM EST
    which is odd.

     Barney Frank told me last night that no amout of cajoling would get the blue dogs to vote for anything stronger. I suggested that Lyndon Johnson knew how to extort votes, but he rejoined that, in his experience, only Tom Delay had ever been able to get representitives to vote against their districts, and that was only because he had the credible threat of Abramoff's cash and conservative primary challenges behind him.


    No (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:10:26 PM EST
    You're wrong.

    Reid has a solid 45 or so.

    Reid has to work miracles.

    Pelosi can lose 15 on most anything.

    Reid can lose nothing.


    I understand the numbers (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by andgarden on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:14:30 PM EST
    but Pelosi seems to give up much easier, for some reason.

    Ahhh (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:19:02 PM EST
    That is my point.

    I just returned from a sit-in... (4.00 / 3) (#11)
    by dutchfox on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 06:15:21 PM EST
    at Bernie Sanders' Burlington office. Around 50 of us showed up and stayed the afternoon. His DC chief of staff was miffed that he had to speak to us ("I'm really busy writing amendments," he said). Bernie wouldn't even take 5 minutes to speak by phone to us. We were treated condescendingly by his Burlington staff. 8 of us refused to leave the office at 6 pm closing, so were arrested. 3 women, 4 other guys and me.

    Curious. (none / 0) (#8)
    by roboleftalk on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:31:01 PM EST
    Why was the senate bill nonbinding from the start?

    Possibly (none / 0) (#10)
    by squeaky on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 06:00:26 PM EST
    to provide a comfy and safe environment for those who are too afraid to vote as they think they should in order to represent those who they are presumably representing.

    Beats me, I was bewildered by that. Still am.


    As of now, (none / 0) (#9)
    by Stewieeeee on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 05:52:39 PM EST
     would dems still be better off had the Out Of Iraq folks in the house helped to reject the bill?

    i hope this isn't an unfair question.

    beginning date (none / 0) (#12)
    by Matt Stoller on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 07:14:26 PM EST
    The Senate bill says that redeployment must begin in 120 days while not imposing a binding withdrawal deadline.  I prefer the Senate version even though the House version has a binding withdrawal date, because the Senate version brings the constitutional showdown with Bush closer.

    What does redeployment mean (none / 0) (#13)
    by roboleftalk on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 08:08:37 PM EST
    and how is it verifiable?

    It's nonbinding (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Mar 27, 2007 at 08:21:10 PM EST
    redeployment is when the troops (none / 0) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Mar 28, 2007 at 08:29:11 AM EST
    are ordered to deploy elsewhere.....move to another land area like home. Packing up all of your tanks and junk after a war when you are America is a very large task and can't possibly happen overnight in a civil war torn region.  It will take months, maybe even a year.  If the Senate made it binding then it means that whole process would have to begin in March 2008.  It would be really nice too if it could happen and it's only gonna happen with Bush if it's binding and even then probably not.  I suppose that if he ignored the nonbinding though there could be a press covered showdown of sorts in March of 2008.  Any Republican up for reelection would lose their asses since their base is split on whether or not we should be in Iraq, that showdown would be lose/lose for them and no time to recover their base before the vote.  It'll crack the Republican base like a faux finish right before the election.  Not a bad idea if real lives and deaths weren't involved.