The Senate Will Debate Iraq: There are Grown-Ups in the GOP

Shailagh Murray reports that we may about to witness the return of the Senate:

Senate Republicans who earlier this week helped block deliberations on a resolution opposing President Bush’s new troop deployments in Iraq changed course yesterday and vowed to use every tactic at their disposal to ensure a full and open debate. In a letter distributed yesterday evening to Senate leaders, John W. Warner (Va.), Chuck Hagel (Neb.) and five other GOP supporters of the resolution threatened to attach their measure to any bill sent to the floor in the coming weeks. Noting that the war is the “most pressing issue of our time,” the senators declared: “We will explore all of our options under the Senate procedures and practices to ensure a full and open debate.” … The letter began circulating yesterday evening after it became apparent the Senate was deadlocked over the war resolution and Reid was prepared to move on to other matters. McConnell and many in his party have aggressively defended their decision to block the bipartisan resolution as an issue of fairness because Democrats would not agree to GOP procedural demands. But some Republicans were uneasy about appearing to have stymied the debate. The letter appeared so suddenly that, although it was addressed to Reid, the Democratic leader had not seen his copy before Warner read the text on the Senate floor. “Monday’s procedural vote should not be interpreted as any lessening of our resolve to go forward advocating the concepts” of the resolution, the letter said. “The current stalemate is unacceptable to us and to the people of this country.” … A top Pentagon leader weighed in yesterday on the war debate and appeared to undercut the argument advanced by the White House and many GOP lawmakers that a congressional debate challenging the Bush plan would hurt troop morale. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the dialogue here in Washington strengthens our democracy. Period,” Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before the House Armed Services Committee. He added that potential enemies may take some comfort from the rancor but said they “don’t have a clue how democracy works.” … The other Republican senators who signed the letter were Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, Norm Coleman (Minn.), Gordon Smith (Ore.), and George V. Voinovich (Ohio). Democrats brushed off the Republicans’ declaration as too little, too late. Reid spokesman Jim Manley said in a statement: “Senator Reid gave Senator Warner and the others a chance to vote for their own resolution on Monday, but only two of them chose to do so. Hopefully this letter signifies that the others have had a change of heart, and will be willing to vote for their own resolution in the future.”… House Democrats had hoped for a large bipartisan Senate vote on Warner’s resolution to create momentum in the House and to provide maximum pressure on Republicans to go along. But with the Senate at a standstill, House leaders are considering a straightforward resolution that opposes the troop increase, without the multiple provisions that complicated Warner’s text. Senior House Democrats predicted that their measure will attract overwhelming party support and possibly as many as 30 GOP votes.

Can someone tell me why the Senate Democrats were so willing to let Mitch McConnell’s tactics block this debate? We should all applaud Senator Warner and the other six GOP Senators who are willing to stall the passage of these spending bills (the ones the last Congress under GOP control never got around to) until Warner’s resolution is voted on. Just imagine 80 Senators giving this White House what amounts to a no confidence vote. We should also thank General Pace for his comments, which undercut the garbage from this White House about not supporting the troops. It would appear to me that Senator Warner is challenging the leadership of Mitch McConnell. All I have to add is: IT’S ABOUT TIME!

Update: The National Review praises the stalling tactics of Mitch “all we want is an up or down vote” McConnell, while Fred Eckert mocks those who would put forth such resolutions:

Besides the affront to the Constitution, what we have been witnessing demonstrates a frightening lack of clear thinking and common sense. These congressmen have been undermining the morale of our troops, uplifting the spirit of our enemies, and making fools of themselves.

That’s right boys and girls, the National Review will publish any rubbish that backs the tyrannical behavior of the Liar-in-Chief. Thank goodness that there are a few Republican Senators who actually understand both the Constitution and what is right for our nation.

Update II: Thanks to the reader who pointed out that the article was referring to 30 House Republicans – not 30 Senate Republicans. My apologies for hoping too much!