Senator John Warner will join what appears to be a unanimous Senate Republican caucus in opposing a Senate vote on his anti-Bush administration resolution, unless competing resolutions are also voted on:
“Senator Warner supports the Senate Republican leadership’s effort to establish a free and open debate on Iraq on the Senate floor, including possible amendments,” a spokesman for the Virginia Republican said yesterday afternoon.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Warner told colleagues during a closed-door strategy meeting at the Library of Congress that he opposes the manner in which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, is conducting debate on his resolution, which condemns Mr. Bush’s plan to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq.
Senate Republicans are opposed to a vote on the Warner resolution unless they also get votes on two other resolutions. One of those alternatives supports Mr. Bush’s plan, and the other would prohibit cutting funds for the war. Republicans also want each resolution to require 60 votes to pass.
As I understand the news accounts, Mitch McConnell has succeeded in getting his caucus unanimously behind this position, if not behind a single resolution:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, told reporters yesterday that he expects to have all 49 Republicans in the chamber — nine votes more than are needed for a filibuster — to vote Monday to block the nonbinding resolution.
It will be interesting to see what emerges from this maneuvering. The most likely outcome, I think, is that the Senate’s lack of consensus over the best path forward in Iraq will be plainly revealed, and the net effect of all this resolution-writing will be close to zero. That’s the best we can hope for, I think.
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