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February 3, 2007
Warner Opposing His Own Resolution?

John Warner has declared that he will filibuster his own non-binding resolution on the surge to protest the conduct of Harry Reid in limiting votes on alternatives, such as John McCain's proposed language that supports the President's new stratey for Baghdad and Anbar. The GOP says they can organize all 49 Senators in their caucus, which would keep any resolution from proceeding to a vote:

Sen. John W. Warner will join his fellow Republicans in voting Monday to block the resolution he wrote rebuking President Bush's Iraq war policy.

"Senator Warner supports the Senate Republican leadership's effort to establish a free and open debate on Iraq on the Senate floor, including possible amendments," a spokesman for the Virginia Republican said yesterday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Warner told colleagues during a closed-door strategy meeting at the Library of Congress that he opposes the manner in which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, is conducting debate on his resolution, which condemns Mr. Bush's plan to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq.

Senate Republicans are opposed to a vote on the Warner resolution unless they also get votes on two other resolutions. One of those alternatives supports Mr. Bush's plan, and the other would prohibit cutting funds for the war. Republicans also want each resolution to require 60 votes to pass.

Mitch McConnell seems to have aroused more opposition to the resolutions than first thought. He appeared on Hugh Hewitt's radio show this week, and McConnell told Hugh that he was aware of the NRSC pledge effort to deny the Senate Republican election committee any funding if they lost their nerve on the war. That message seems to have been heard by the caucus, and the sudden reversal by Warner makes it clear that we have made them nervous about the outcome.

Without Warner's cooperation, none of the resolutions have a chance to make it to a vote. Even with Warner's backing, it was doubtful that Reid could overcome a filibuster; the only swishes on this bill were Warner himself, Susan Collins, Chuck Hagel, and Olympia Snowe, or at least the only Republican Senators who publicly supported the Warner-Levin language. The appearance of the McCain proposal has given the GOP an alternative that allows Congress to have its say in the conduct of the war but does not kneecap the general they unanimously selected to lead the effort in Iraq before he takes full command. That gives the GOP plenty of cover to conduct a filibuster, and now it's clear that it will succeed.

What will Reid do if Warner successfully filibusters his own resolution? It would be a mild embarrassment to Reid, who will have to explain why he didn't want to allow amendments or alternatives to reach the floor for an up-or-down vote. After all his talk about bipartisanship and working across the aisle -- and his constant whining about Republican failures to do so over the past two years -- having a major issue filibustered because of his refusal to meet the GOP halfway will seem just a bit incongruous. Worse, however, will be his inability to deliver some kind of rebuke to the White House after having built up the expectation of it for the past three weeks.

In the end, though, I suspect, a filibuster might work in everyone's interests. The Democrats can claim they tried to pass a useless resolution scolding the White House, the Republicans can claim they protected the effort to win in Iraq, and the White House can get on with its surge strategy for Baghdad. In a weird way, all three had better hope the new strategy works, or the political fallout from these efforts around non-binding resolutions will be harsh indeed.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 3, 2007 8:08 AM

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» Iraq Resolution Update from Wake up America>
Abandon the President in a time of war and I guarantee them, their base will surely abandon THEM in a time of election. It is what it is and as this plays out we need to continue the pressure...we need to let them see we are watching and our resoluti... [Read More]

Tracked on February 3, 2007 11:34 AM

» Warner Opposing His Own Resolution from Bill's Bites
Warner to Oppose Vote on Own Resolution John Hinderaker Senator John Warner will join what appears to be a unanimous Senate Republican caucus in opposing a Senate vote on his anti-Bush administration resolution, unless competing resolutions are also vo... [Read More]

Tracked on February 3, 2007 1:04 PM


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