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Senate at an Impasse on Iraq Withdrawal

A partisan divide plagues Congress' ability to reach a consensus on if and when the United States should begin withdrawing troops from Iraq. The NewsHour reports on the ongoing debate.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    And the war debate goes on. NewsHour congressional correspondent Kwame Holman has our report.

    SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), Senate Majority Leader: So I ask my Republican colleagues for the courage and wisdom to join the American people and bring our troops home.

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    Senate Democrats believed this would be the week they finally reversed the course of the Iraq war, but by week's end, it actually appeared they had lost momentum.

    SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), Michigan: You've got to have a timetable. And if it's not in law, then at least it ought to be a goal. And that's our goal, and we're not going to be discouraged.

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    The much-anticipated progress report on the U.S. military surge in Iraq, delivered to the Congress last week by General David Petraeus, ended with his recommendation to stay the course, at least for another six months.

    Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin and Majority Leader Harry Reid hoped enough Republicans wouldn't buy the extension and this week scheduled votes on several amendments to a Defense Department bill, each designed to bring the troops home sooner. But Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had set the bar high, agreeing not to filibuster the amendments, but insisting that 60 votes be needed for any of them to pass.

  • SEN. CARL LEVIN:

    The challenge before us is to get to the 60 votes.