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Senate Debates Resolution on Troop Increase in Iraq

The Senate, embroiled in debate over the President's plan to increase troops in Iraq, is expected to vote Monday on a non-binding resolution opposing the President's plan. A congressional reporter analyzes the situation.

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    When Carl Levin and John Warner, the current and former chairmen of the Senate Armed Services Committee, came together last week with a compromise resolution opposed to the president's troop buildup in Iraq, it appeared that a vote forcing all senators to go on the record with their positions could happen quickly.

    SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), Senate Majority Leader: It's now 21,5000. It's 48,000.


    But by the time the Senate began work this afternoon, debate on Iraq policy had become trapped in a partisan dispute over procedure.


    We learned on Friday, and it was continued over the weekend, that the minority is going to do everything in their power to block an Iraq vote. Are they so worried that a bipartisan majority of senators might voice their opposition to this escalation?


    Democrat Harry Reid, the majority leader, originally suggested limiting Senate debate with straight up-or-down votes on two resolutions, Levin-Warner, and one in support of the president's plan, sponsored by Arizona Republican John McCain.


    The American public would see a debate on Warner, see a debate on McCain. One is for the surge; one is against the surge.


    On the other hand, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who wanted to debate several resolutions, also wanted to require a supermajority of 60 votes for any of them to pass.

    SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader: I think it's really not in dispute that a 60-vote threshold is quite common around here, is ordinary rather than extraordinary.

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