After an all night debate, the Republican senate again blocked a proposal to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq on Tuesday. Senate Republicans refused to allow an up-or-down vote on the Levin-Reed amendment to the Defense Authorization bill that would transition the mission in Iraq. The proposal fell eight votes short of the 60 needed just to move to final consideration.
What took place on the senate floor last night was nothing more than a bit of theater staged by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). The reason for this was to force the Republicans out into the open, to force them to show their vote to continue the war in Iraq in a public display.
The measure, an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill (HR 1585), was a Democratic attempt to force President Bush to change course on the Iraq War. It would require that withdrawal of U.S. forces begin within 120 days and to complete the withdrawal of most units by April 30, 2008.
"Because Republicans continue to block votes on important amendments to the defense authorization bill, we can make no further progress on Iraq and this bill at this time," said Reid.
Now why does Harry Reid have to stage an all-night congressional pajama party just to force the Republicans to show their vote on the continuation the war in Iraq publicly? For a variety of reasons, but part of the reason that this took place is so that the public knows what's really going on the senate floor. All too often the obstructionist actions of the Republican senate are back-page news.
The Democrats are continually getting pounded by the overwhelmingly conservative coverage of the congress. The Democratic congress is repeatedly painted as weak and ineffectual, and are at times even blamed for things that are not their doing.
Even in the case of Reid's all-night debate, the press are blatantly stating falsehoods in an attempt to discredit Reid. The following is just one example: