Saturday, 17 February 2007

Senate blocks vote on nonbinding resolution the House passed...

A bit over a week ago debate in the Senate over Iraq policy came to a complete halt.

Just recently, the House of Representatives was able to pass a nonbinding resolution condemning President Bush's troop surge.

Now, the Senate has chosen to continue its path of inability to act like a legislative body, to think and act independently of the executive, to be able to even have a debate on an issue as serious as Iraq.

The US Senate has decided not to debate a resolution criticising President George W Bush's troop surge in Iraq.

The rare Saturday session followed a non-binding vote backing the resolution in the House of Representatives.

In the House, 17 Republicans had joined the majority Democrats to oppose the increase of 21,500 troops.

Democrats needed the support of 60 of the 100 senators to advance the same motion in the Senate, but they only managed to gain 56 votes in favour.

Mr Bush still faces battles with Congress over funding for US troops in Iraq.
The White House has dismissed the vote, and warned Congress against trying to cut off funding.
Senate Democrats were hoping to repeat their Friday success in the House, when the motion criticising the president's Iraq policy was passed by 246 votes to 182.
"The Senate's responsibility must be to vote on escalation, whether the so-called surge is supported or opposed. This is the choice. More war, or less war," the Democrat leader [Harry Reid] told the Senate.

Republicans sought debate on a different motion, which would have ruled out any budget cuts affecting troops already in Iraq.

The GOP is trying to look like the hero and the underdog at the same time; the Dems are exercising majority power, but not nearly to the level the Republicans would if their majority status was left unchanged by the elections last November.

This debate over whether to have a debate over a resolution only powerful in political symbolism has gone on for quite some time now, since mid-January when Bush announced the 'surge'.

What's funny is that the Senate is often the more liberal/moderate of the two chambers of Congress. However, the Democrats' very slim majority in the Senate of 51-49 — which includes two seats of non-Democrats (i.e. independents who have decided to caucus with the Dems) — is less than its 30-some seat majority in the House.

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