Senate Rejects Legislation To Cut Off Funds For Iraq War
- Senators Lugar and Bayh today voted against withdrawing U.S. troops from
See the roll call vote at:
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Iraq withdrawal move thwarted in Senate
Senate Rejects Legislation To Cut Off Funds For Iraq War After March 2008
By ANNE FLAHERTY
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON, May. 16, 2007
The Senate on Wednesday rejected legislation that would cut off money for
combat operations in Iraq after March 31, 2008.
The vote was a loss for Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., and other Democrats
who want to end the war. But the effort picked up support from members,
including presidential hopefuls previously reluctant to limit war funding _
an indication of the conflict's unpopularity among voters.
The proposal lost 29-67 on a procedural vote, falling 31 votes short of the
necessary votes to advance.
The Senate also narrowly rejected a proposal by Republican moderates
intended to restrict U.S. aid for Iraq, after Democratic leaders lashed out
against the proposal as too weak. The 52-44 vote was widely supported by
Republicans, but fell eight votes shy of the required 60.
The Senate agreed only on a nonbinding resolution expressing the need to
pass a war spending bill by Memorial Day. That proposal passed by an 87-9
The other more controversial proposals had been expected to fall short of
the 60 votes needed to advance under Senate rules, but was intended to gauge
the tolerance of members on anti-war legislation. Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid staged a series of war votes Wednesday to inform negotiations
with the House on a war spending bill.
"We stand united.... in our belief that troops are enmeshed in an
intractable civil war," said Reid, D-Nev.
Feingold's measure, co-sponsored by Reid and Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn.,
proved divisive for Democrats. On the final vote, 19 Democrats joined 47
Republicans and Connecticut Independent Joseph Lieberman in opposing the
measure. Of the 29 supporting were 28 Democrats and Vermont Independent
Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said he opposes
any measure that cuts off money for the war.
"We don't want to send the message to the troops" that Congress does not
support them, said Levin, D-Mich. "We're going to support those troops."
But other Democrats said the move was necessary.
"I'm not crazy about the language in the Feingold amendment, but I am crazy
about the idea that we have to keep the pressure on," said Sen. Joseph
Biden, D-Del., who also wants the Democratic presidential nomination.
The second measure, drafted by Sen. John Warner, would have threatened
billions of dollars in U.S. aid to Iraq if Baghdad failed to implement
certain political and security reforms. But in a last-minute change to the
proposal to gain White House acceptance, Warner added a provision allowing
the president to waive the restriction.
It "is really very tepid, very weak," said Reid, who supports cutting off
funding for combat next year. "A cup of tea that's been sitting on the
counter for a few weeks. ... You wouldn't want to drink that tea. You
wouldn't want to vote for this amendment."
Warner, R-Va., defended the measure as carefully negotiated and "a
good-faith effort to do my very best."
Ultimately, his proposal won support of 44 GOP members, seven Democrats and
Lieberman. Opposing the legislation were Sanders, 40 Democrats and three
The votes came as the Democratic-controlled Congress struggles to clear
legislation for Bush's signature by the end of next week to continue U.S.
military operations through Sept. 30.
The House last week passed legislation funding the war on two separate,
The Senate must take the next step by passing its own measure. Given the
political forces at work, that legislation will be a placeholder, its only
purpose to trigger three-way negotiations involving the House, Senate and
Bush administration on a final compromise.
As a result, officials said Tuesday that Reid and Senate Republican leader
Mitch McConnell had discussed jointly advancing a bill so barebones that it
would contain no funds and do little more than express congressional support
for the troop.
Negotiations on the final compromise are expected to take days.
Wednesday's votes on Feingold and other proposals "will provide strong
guidance to our conferees and help shape the conference negotiations we have
ahead of us," said Reid.
Levin pulled from the floor his proposal to set an Oct. 1 date to begin
troop withdrawals, but allow the president to waive that requirement. He had
pitched the idea with the expectation that the president would accept it
because of the waiver; but, Levin said Wednesday he had been advised by the
White House that the president would veto the measure regardless.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a Democratic presidential front-runner,
previously opposed setting a deadline on the war. But she said she agreed to
back Feingold's measure "because we, as a united party, must work together
with clarity of purpose and mission to begin bringing our troops home and
end this war."
Sen. Barack Obama, another leading 2008 prospect, said he would prefer a
plan that offers more flexibility but wanted "to send a strong statement to
the Iraqi government, the president and my Republican colleagues that it's
long past time to change course."
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
"Defund the War ~ Declare Peace!"
Bring All U.S. Troops Home from Iraq in 2007.
Let Iraq Live!
Organizer, Bloomington Peace Action Coalition
Organizer, The Declaration of Peace